UN Update: Stop Arresting Sex Workers under the guise of ending trafficking



On Monday, March 10th, the US Human Rights Network Working Group, a national network that includes BPPP and SWOP-Phoenix, delivered a statement to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. The statement called for the US to end criminalizing approaches to sex work and trafficking in the US. Specifically the groups requested that the US Justice Department to remove criminalization of sex work from current Model State Criminal Provisions that were ostensibly designed to stop trafficking, but that call for arrest and jail sentences for people doing sex work. Beginning Thursday, the Committee will review the U.S.’s adherence to its human rights obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. SWOP-PHX and BPPP submitted a joint report to the Committee showing how the U.S. violates civil rights of sex workers and people profiled by police as sex work, under anti-sex work initiatives.

Actions to #standwithMonica on March 14

The Best Practices Policy Project, the Desiree Alliance and Global Action for Trans* Equality are calling for US-wide and international action on March 14, 2014 to support Monica Jones’ campaign for the rights of transgender people and sex workers.

SWOP-NYC and SWANK are organizing a public demonstration to “free Monica Jones, stop Project Rose and end stigma and criminalization of sex work” in Times Square (46th and 7th. Look for the red umbrellas!) on Friday, March 14th at 10:30 AM Eastern to coincide with Monica’s trial in Phoenix. The organizers are advising participants to “wear red if you don’t mind being photographed. We’ll have signs, slogans and chants. Bring the noise and stand in support of Monica Jones!” They have also pointed out that “diversion programs such as Phoenix, Arizona’s Project ROSE or Brooklyn’s EPIC program harm sex workers through shaming and coercive programs, and increasing policing and profiling which target trans women of color.”

The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance will be sending an email blast to the Alliance’s 13,000 member network, the Alliance will be writing a blog post and putting out messages on social media on March 14.

The Network of Sex Work Projects has signed on in support of Monica.

 SWOP-Las Vegas is co-organizing a solidarity event in Las Vegas at 8am, March 14 in front of the Regional Justice Center with The LGBTQ Center of S. NV, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), GetEQUAL NV, and Gender Justice Nevada. We stand with Monica and all of the wonderful, brave Phoenix, national, and international organizers!

SWOP Chicago has been leading the most amazing social media program to #standwithMonica. Follow them on Twitter and join them with your own social media action.

SWOP Chicago Social Media


The Best Practices Policy Project, the Desiree Alliance, Global Action for Trans* Equality and INCITE! are calling for US-wide and international action on March 14, 2014 to support Monica Jones’ campaign for the rights of transgender people and sex workers.

Monica Jones, a human rights defender in Arizona and an advocate for the rights of transgender people and sex workers, was profiled and wrongfully arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” by a police sting operation and anti-prostitution diversion program known as “Project ROSE”. Ms Jones had been a speaker at a rally protesting Project ROSE—which is run by Phoenix police and Arizona State University’s School of Social Work—the day before. At the time of her arrest, she was not engaging in sex work, but was in fact walking down her street to the local bar.

On March 14 at 8.30 am (US Mountain Standard Time) Monica’s case will go to trial at Phoenix Municipal Court. She will plead not guilty and an action is planned outside the court to show the City of Phoenix Prosecutor that we won’t tolerate the systematic profiling and criminalization of transgender people of color and sex workers. Simultaneously on March 14, two sex worker rights advocates will be at the United Nations in Geneva to bring international attention to Monica’s trial and the ongoing human rights violations occurring in Phoenix and across the United States.

We call on people and organizations across the United States, in the region and internationally to show your support for Monica Jones and the issues she cares about. We encourage individuals, organizations, and communities to acknowledge the day in whatever way they feel safe in doing to raise awareness, to learn and share about the issues (it could be by viewing online coverage from the United Nations, it could be through social media action, by sharing a meal, organizing a public action, writing a letter to the press, through art and so on).

Please email us at bestpracticespolicyproject @ gmail.com and director@desireealliance.org to tell us about the action you plan and if you would like us to highlight your action on our websites. If you wish to add your organization’s name to this call, email us and we would be happy to do so.

More information about the case, Monica’s trial and the UN action can be found at:




The hashtags #standwithMonica and #notyourrescueproject are being used for social media.

Update on ongoing harassment of Monica: Since refusing to plead guilty to the charges she is innocent of, Ms. Jones has been targeted four additional times by police officers while walking around her neighborhood carrying out everyday activities such as bringing groceries home or heading to her local bar. Each time, the police use insulting and transphobic language and threaten her with arrest, despite the fact that she is doing nothing more than simply walking outdoors. Across the U.S. and in Phoenix, transgender people of color are routinely targeted for harassment and hate-motivated violence, by both police and the public, and are frequently profiled as sex workers by police. Transgender people are also targeted for cruel treatment in prisons, including by guards.

Ms. Jones states, “I believe I was profiled as a sex worker because I am a transgender woman of color, and an activist. I am a student at ASU, and fear that these wrongful charges will affect my educational path. I am also afraid that if am sentenced, I will be placed in a men’s jail as a transgender woman, which would be very unsafe for me. Prison is an unsafe place for everyone, and especially trans people.

Monica Jones should not have to go to court to fight wrongful charges resulting from a discriminatory and arbitrary arrest stemming from a department in which she studies. Sign the petition to have the charges against Monica dropped.

Phoenix calling the United Nations: new ICCPR report

In late December 2013 the Best Practices Policy Project worked with SWOP-PHX to send a report to the Human Rights Committee for consideration during the review of how the United States has fared in meeting its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the “ICCPR”). The ICCPR is a key human rights treaty that protects amongst other things equality before the law, the rights of minorities, gender equality, freedom of speech, freedom from torture, ill-treatment, and arbitrary detention, and the right to a fair trial.

Continue reading »