Author Archive

Decoding the “Equality Model”

The following is a work in progress as we quickly examine the roots of a bill, the Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act, that was was introduced in the New York state Senate by New York Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter on Monday March 25, 2021. The purpose of the bill is to criminalize people associated with sex work and provide additional resources for policing, a form of criminalization that sometimes is referred to as the “Nordic Model.” The text of the bill is not yet publicly available leading to a moment in advocacy when we find ourselves responding to an issue without having the text before us. An important approach at BPPP, an approach that is shared by many of our coalition members in this case specifically the BSWC, is to review original source to decode exactly what is happening with new legislation, “terms of service” and other documents. Often when we dig deeper we find that the outcomes are far worse than we ever could have gleaned from reading press reports. We encourage everyone to follow the BSWC and sign on to materials the BSWC is developing.

Since the text of the introduced bill, the Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act,  is not available we reviewed Senator Liz Krueger’s tweets to find out more. Her tweets led us to the website of the New Yorkers for the Equality Model, illuminating the thinking behind the bill and the sleight of hand brought to bear in efforts to criminalize sex work, sex workers and to bolster policing at almost any cost to low income communities, immigrants and people of color.

The “bill summary” at the site hijacks the language of many years of advocacy to end the criminalization of sex workers and trans people’s lives in New York, without adhering to any of the policies that would actually create this change. The resources page for the “equality model” reveals the bill’s underlying anti-sex work philosophy, commitment to carceral approaches and equation of people’s efforts to secure their livelihood with violence.

While working in coalition to support efforts to educate about the bill, an advocate shared a link to an investigation by Propublica published in late 2020, that found that in New York City policing of the kind proposed by the “Equality Model” has targeted people of color and led to false arrests and sexual assaults by police officers. Since 2014 the city has had to pay over one million dollars in compensation to community members for rights violations.

Managing our own affairs!

The Best Practices Policy Project is now a tax exempt organization and has been operating independently of our former fiscal sponsor since December 17, 2020.

Running our own show has been hard won and we are sharing everything we are learning with our networks so others can do the same if they choose. Donations to the Best Practices Policy Project are tax deductible. Checks can be made out to and mailed to Best Practices Practices Policy Project, Inc at 8 Egbert Hill Rd, Morristown, NJ 07960. Donations can be made online via cc, debit and paypal. If you shop at Amazon (and not saying that you should but *if*) then send us some coins from them when you shop by clicking the button below.

Want to know how to support other organizations working for rights, providing services and organizing at the grassroots? The sector of organizations and activists working for rights very much needs donations no matter how small. Many organizations do outstanding work while receiving almost no support from mainstream funding agencies and your support will make a difference. The Desiree Alliance is currently seeking support. The Outlaw Project is setting up a housing project for transgender women in Arizona. The Black Sex Worker Collective is combining art and activism. New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance is providing support to the sex workers of New Jersey. The St. James Infirmary provides compassionate and non-judgmental support to sex workers in San Francisco. Donations help keep food on the table for program participants, pays for outreach supplies (like hygiene kits, new socks, hats, gloves, scarves, etc), or help pay for reproductive and medical services for uninsured sex workers in need.

More information about the Best Practices Policy Project… The Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP) is dedicated to supporting organizations and advocates working with sex workers, people in the sex trade and related communities in the United States. We organize, produce materials for policy environments, address research and provide organizations and advocates with technical assistance. We are committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression. Everything that we do is guided by principles that protect the rights of people who engage in sex work in all its forms. BPPP is a member of the US Human Rights Network, the Network of Sex Work Projects and the Association for Women’s Rights in Development.

PRESS RELEASE

Contacts: N’Jaila Rhee newjerseyrua@gmail.com, Penelope Saunders, bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com, Cris Sardina, director@desireealliance.org, Akynos, blacksexworkercollective@gmail.com, Monica Jones, theoutlawprojectinc@gmail.com

Sex Worker Rights Groups have told the United Nations how the U.S. violates human rights: now the world is watching

Newark, NJ – November 5th, 2020  – On Monday November 9, 2020 the world will be watching as member states of the United Nations hold the United States accountable for its spectacular failures in ensuring the health and human rights of sex workers, transgender people, migrants and other communities harmed by the criminalization of sex work.

Continue reading »

Updated UPR Statement

As we prepare for the delayed Universal Periodic Review of the United States that will now be held on November 9, 2020, we are providing the following updated statements for missions and interested parties.

COVID19, Racism, Police Brutality and Human Rights Violations of Sex Workers, People in the Sex Trades, and People Profiled as Such, for the 2020 Universal Periodic Review of the U.S.A.

CONTRIBUTORS: New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, Desiree Alliance, The Outlaw Project, Best Practices Policy Project and the Black Sex Worker Collective

In the US criminalization and stigmatization of sex workers, and those profiled as such, prevents our communities from exercising our human rights. Violations include: violence perpetrated by law enforcement and ICE; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during incarceration; denial of due process and protection in the justice system; denial of rights to housing, healthcare, reproductive rights, education, income, employment and economic justice. People of color, transgender people, migrants, street based sex workers, homeless, youth, and people living with HIV/AIDS bear a high burden of these violations. The US government has engaged in a sustained campaign to roll back the rights of transgender people. Transgender people are assumed to be sex workers by the authorities, leading to incarceration and immigration detention, where they are harmed, highly vulnerable to sexual assaults, and killed.

Continue reading »