NY State Condom Legistlation CALL TO ACTION

The No Condoms Bill is before the Assembly for a vote and we urgently need you to call, email and fax your Assembymembers and let them know they should vote FOR bill A3856. It could come to a vote today or early next week! Thank you for all your support thus far!

If you could take a moment to:

· Look up your Assemblymember, either by where you live, where your organization is located, or both! Call the Assembly Public Information Office a: 518-455-4218, or you can use your zipcode to search on this site: www.votesmart.org.

· Call their Albany office. Attached is a list of talking points.

· Fax their Albany office with a memo of support – attached is the one we are sending today you can use as a model.

· Email them directly with a letter of support (CC ahardikar@urbanjustice.org if you can!)

Phone Talking Points

Memo in Support from SW

You should do this before Wed. June 10th, 2009 But the sooner the better!

Thank you Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center! We love all of your work on this!

New Report Examines the Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking in Persons

On Friday, January 9th, The Sex Workers Project, at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, released a new report, Kicking Down the Door, that analyzes the use of “rescue” raids in the fight against human trafficking.

The report “summarizes findings from interviews with 46 people with experience of such raids, including service providers who have worked with hundreds of trafficking victims, law enforcement personnel, and 15 immigrant women who have been trafficked,” and “concludes that so-called “rescue” raids are not an effective way to stop trafficking in persons and in fact can be counter-productive.”

From PlanetWire.org:

WASHINGTON DC, Jan. 9 – Law enforcement raids designed to rescue victims of human trafficking may do more harm than good for the victims and are ineffective or even counter-productive in curbing the practice, a coalition of advocates for sex workers said today. They urged President-elect Obama to adopt a rights-based approach to the problem.

The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, a New York-based coalition of service providers, researchers, advocates, donors and sex workers, released a report analyzing the experiences of 46 people involved in such raids during 2007 and 2008.

“The findings suggest that vice raids are an ineffective means of locating and identifying trafficked persons,” said Dr. Melissa Ditmore, primary author of the study, during an audio news conference announcing the release. “They are often accompanied by violations of human rights of the trafficked persons and sex workers and are therefore counterproductive to their own goals.”

Kicking Down the Door concludes with a lengthy list of recommendations for the US government, law enforcement personnel, and service providers. For some of us, these recommendations are common sense, but most of us also know that common sense isn’t really the cornerstone of policies involving sex work.

The Sex Workers Project (SWP) provides legal services and legal training, and engages in documentation and policy advocacy, for sex workers. Using a harm reduction and human rights model, we protect the rights and safety of sex workers who by choice, circumstance, or coercion remain in the industry. They released two previous reports, Revolving Door and Behind Closed Doors, which examined street-based sex work and indoor sex work in New York City, respectively.

Proposition K on RH Reality Check

SF’s Proposition K: Changing the Landscape for Sex Workers

Sienna Baskin and Melissa Ditmore on October 28, 2008 – 8:00am
Next week, San Francisco voters will vote on Proposition K, which would prohibit the use of public funds to enforce laws criminalizing prostitution, and mandate that police investigate crimes against sex workers. The passage of Proposition K would change the landscape for sex workers in San Francisco in critical ways. First, by removing police officers’ power to arrest sex workers, it would reduce sex workers’ vulnerability to all of the abuses of that power sex workers currently experience: police profiling and harassment, sexual harassment and assault, rape, and extortion of sexual favors under threat of arrest by police officers, and entrapment.

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Sex Workers Denied Right to Safe Work

Another great piece by Melissa Ditmore at RH Reality Check: Sex Workers Denied Right to Safe Work.

Sex Workers Denied Right to Safe Work
Melissa Ditmore on October 17, 2008 – 8:00am

This December marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to livelihood is enshrined in the declaration. I mention this because it is one of the rights most often denied to sex workers.

Around the world, people turn to sex work in the hope that it will enable them to earn a living. But authorities and misguided anti-prostitution policies routinely deny them that right.

The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center has released two reports highlighting this fact. (See them here). Sex workers interviewed for these reports described becoming involved in commercial sex for financial reasons, and they described the difficulties faced by unskilled workers, especially transgender workers, in their efforts to earn a living wage.

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