Sex Work In Phoenix (October 2013)
The folks with Project Rose articulate well enough below themselves why this program is so damaging...its all about rounding up prostitutes, not fighting human traffickers. Note that only 30% of those scooped up in these stings even complete Project Rose services - the rest were promised prosecution and jail time if they wouldn't or couldn't get with the program, which involves being interviewed by the cops about your "victimization" (sounds like extracting confessions from those "victims" who are hardly entering into that conversation willingly, yet get no Miranda Warning or access to a defense attorney beofre they have to decide what to do).
Apart from the obvious violation of ones' right not to incriminate onesself in that whole process, I'm concerned that the information the cops are gathering and analyzing loses credibility and validity because of the coercive methods employed in extracting it. It's also tainted by the expectation that the prisoner is actually a "victim" - that's clearly the only way to get out of jail free: they have every reason to give them what they want to hear, not necessarily the truth. Phoenix Vice is just banking on this project bringing in all sorts of extra goodies - this is the anti-trafficking decade, and the money is flowing for the cause. I think they just have to declare War on Sex again because the War on Drugs is wearing pretty thin.
Whether they were taken to jail the night they got picked up, or sent a summons if they failed to be good candidates for indoctination, as in the case of our friend Monica Jones, these "victims" not served successfully by Project Rose are people who end up being hurt and violated by the experience instead. Project Rose amplifies only the voices of those they "rescue": we need to find some way to make sure the voices and stories of all those victimized by them get heard, too...
If you're in Phoenix this month, come to our sex positive party at the Firehouse Gallery, 9pm Nov 22! Support SWOP-PHX and sex worker rights' activists. Sounds like we'll even have a spanking booth (I get to spank the cops! We suspect PHX Vice will be dropping in, those bad boys..). Geez - I hope spanking for a good cause isn't against the law here too...these people really do know how to twist things.