Phoenix responds to Project ROSE’s police raids

Phoenix advocates used these and similar signs during public protests against a rights violating diversion program.

PHOENIX, AZ – Sex workers and allies protested yesterday October 17, 2013 outside Bethany Bible Church, the site of the Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative. Twice a year the Phoenix Police and the ASU School of Social Work team up to arrest people working in the sex trade. People who are arrested and found to be “eligible” for services are forced to choose between a 6-month diversion program and criminal charges. Many arrested during the stings are not eligible for the diversion process at all and face incarceration under Arizona’s mandatory minimum statutes.

“Project ROSE coordinators claim this program offers voluntary diversion,” Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman of Phoenix SWOP, an organization of sex workers and allies fighting for the rights of sex workers, explained. “But when our own members are arrested and taken to court, we know better. This program doesn’t make people safer, it creates fear and trauma. The raids rely on coercion, and result in more people behind bars for working.”

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