Quick Exit / Salida Rapida
Quick Exit / Salida Rapida
News & Press2022-01-31T17:37:56+00:00

News & Press

Read relevant news and press about SWP, public policy, and the sex workers we’re fighting for.

Together we are creating a world that is safe for sex workers and where human trafficking does not exist.

The EARN IT Act Is Back. Here’s What People Are Saying

February 1st, 2022|

Reason

“The reintroduced EARN IT Act is now scheduled to be discussed at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday. It's being sponsored by a bipartisan group that includes some of the Senate's worst actors, including Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.), Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), and Josh Hawley (R–Mo.)...The bill has earned criticism from all sorts of civil liberties, sex worker rights, LGBT, and free speech groups including the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center.”

Goodparts Sells “Lubed Up” NFTS to Support Sex Workers

January 31st, 2022|

Hype Bae

“Personal care brand Goodparts founder Dave Shanfield is harnessing the power of NFTs to support sex workers. On February 2 and February 8, you can purchase the “lubed up” NFTs on NFTreats and proceeds will be donated directly to the marginalized community...A majority of funds will be donated directly to the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Worker Project which also seeks to destigmatize and decriminalize sex work.”

Nationwide push to liberalize prostitution laws prompts concerns about human trafficking

January 29th, 2022|

Fox News

"There's nothing inherent about sex work that makes it more prone to violence other than the fact that because of stigma and because of shame and stigma against sex work, we as sex workers are – for people who want to cause violence – we're expendable people. We're easy targets for violence because people think we're less than moralistic," [RJ Thompson, Director, UJC's Sex Workers Project]

Policing Must Change to End Violence Against Sex Workers

December 6th, 2021|

This blog post from the Sex Workers Project (SWP) of the Urban Justice Center is part of the 2021 Leading to Violence Campaign. This campaign highlights the critical issues that must be addressed to realize the goals of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, recognized each year on December 17. SWP is writing on the topic of policing and the ways in which it harms and leads to systemic and interpersonal violence at the hands of law enforcement and the criminal legal system.

In Honor of Transgender Awareness Week Governor Hochul Signs LGBTQ+ Protection Bills

November 16th, 2021|

NY State

“Associate Director of the Government Affairs for Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center Andy Bowen said, "With Governor Hochul's signature on the START Act, SWP sends its deepest thanks to the Governor, along with sponsors Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, for giving so many of our clients past and present greater hope for the future...With START's enactment, we will see many kinds of healing."

The New York Women’s Foundation Announces Fall Grantmaking Efforts

October 28th, 2021|

PR Newswire

"Investing in the power of women, girls, and gender-expansive people to create an equitable and just future, The New York Women's Foundation announces nearly half a million dollars in its latest round of grantmaking... Grantee partners [including] the Sex Workers Project...center the voices and experiences of those most marginalized in civic and political spheres, including Black and Latinx women, youth of color, and cis- and transgender people of color in the sex work industry.”

Trafficking Victim: They Made Me Have Sex With Cops

October 19th, 2021|

Daily Beast

“This is far from the first allegation of a police officer taking advantage of a sex worker. Seventeen percent of sex workers surveyed in a 2003 report by the Urban Justice Center of New York reported being sexually harassed by police, including one sex worker who reported being raped by police and another who reported being stalked.”

Andy Bowen in The 2021 New York City 40 Under 40

October 6th, 2021|

City & State

“As a public affairs consultant for the past four years, [Andy] Bowen has advised and supported clients such as worker cooperatives and the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. Whether it’s supporting advocates for LGBTQ people or labor rights, Bowen says, “Helping take part in that change means the world to me.”

Sex Workers Sick of OnlyFans Are Building Their Own Websites

September 24th, 2021|

Vice

“While the purported target of the law [FOSTA/SESTA] was trafficking in the sex trades, it has proven incredibly ineffective but is instead invoked regularly by tech companies when censoring and removing content shared by sex workers, or even just users sharing content of a sexual nature,” Mariah Grant, Director of Research and Advocacy at The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, told Motherboard.”

How to support sex trafficking survivors without harming consenting sex workers

September 11th, 2021|

Mashable

“Answering what is the best group is "a tricky question because many organizations that serve survivors are more localized,” says Kate D'Adamo, a long-time sex worker rights advocate who previously was the national policy advocate at the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, which works to destigmatize and decriminalize people in the sex trade. The best group may not have the best SEO on Google, and many anti-porn sex trafficking national groups take out ads on search platforms.”

Utah politicians applaud OnlyFans’ ban of sexually explicit content, but questions remain

August 20th, 2021|

KSL Utah

Harper Zacharias, director of development of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center said the move by OnlyFans "indicates a troubling willingness of OnlyFans to bend under the slightest pressure of financial institutions. OnlyFans has made its fortune off of the backs of sex workers during a time of global crisis."

Apple photo-scanning plan faces global backlash from 90 rights groups

August 19th, 2021|

Ars Technica

"The undersigned organizations committed to civil rights, human rights, and digital rights around the world [including UJC's Sex Workers Project] are writing to urge Apple to abandon the plans it announced on 5 August 2021 to build surveillance capabilities into iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products...Though these capabilities are intended to protect children and to reduce the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), we are concerned that they will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children."

City Budget Includes Broad Increase in Funding for LGBTQ Initiatives

July 9th, 2021|

Gay City News

The city is also increasing money intended to support “people involved in the sex trade” by $300,000 to $4.43 million. New funding sources within this program include $100,000 for the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project, which works to identify immigrant trans survivors of trafficking.

HBO Crime Drama ‘Mare of Easttown’ Perpetuates A Familiar and Dangerous Trope

May 17th, 2021|

Pop Matters

According to a study done by the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, "Eighty percent of street based prostitutes interviewed had experiences or been threatened with violence while working."

Sex Workers’ Rights and Human Trafficking

April 1st, 2021|

Human Trafficking Search

“someone can be a sex worker and a survivor of trafficking,” just like a fruit picker or seamstress. “But when we’re talking about adult, consensual sex work- it doesn’t have anything to do with force or coercion,” Thompson affirms. When adequate safety measures are in place, Bruce adds “sex work can be an affirming and empowering choice” for some individuals.

Brooklyn DA Dismisses Hundreds of Prostitution Arrests

February 1st, 2021|

Spectrum News NY1

“The criminalization of sex work is what makes it dangerous." said Mariah Grant, director of research, organizing and advocacy for the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. "It makes it so that people can’t operate freely, that they can’t go to the police and feel comfortable expressing that they’ve seen abuse happening or experienced it themselves because they’d be fearful of arrest."

The Case for Decriminalizing Sex Work in New York City

January 27th, 2021|

Decriminalizing sex work would allow for the creation of safety regulations to protect both sex workers and buyers from exploitation. If decriminalized, sex workers could safely report incidents of violence and sexual assault without fear of entering the criminal justice system themselves.

PROPnyc

The Vice-Loathing Reverend and the Sex Workers Who Took San Francisco by Storm in 1917

January 25th, 2021|

Daily Beast

On Jan. 25, 1917, sex workers in San Francisco marched to the Central Methodist Church to meet with Rev. Paul Smith, who had organized a campaign to rid and protect the city from vice. This was the first sex worker-led protest in the U.S.

Washtenaw County will no longer prosecute consensual sex work

January 15th, 2021|

Detroit Free Press

"This is a really wonderful thing that other jurisdictions should duplicate because across the country, Black folks ... and also trans and cisgender women all bear the disproportionate burden of criminalization," said RJ Thompson, a sex worker who is managing director of the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, a national legal services and advocacy group.

What Sex Workers Want Kamala Harris to Know

January 14th, 2021|

The Nation

“A lot of black cis women, gender-nonconforming people and trans women just don’t know that it’s possible for a black woman to sit in such a high position.” But Bruce adds that “there’s some challenges because historically, we know that she hasn’t been supportive of trans women in particular, and also not supportive of sex workers. I just feel like for us to see positive change in our communities, we need to see her also change.”

Kamala Harris is our new VP, and that holds different meanings for people

November 9th, 2020|

Daily Kos

“The victim narrative and rescue mentality that most Democrats take around sex work is not helpful,” said RJ Thompson, a human rights lawyer, longtime sex worker, and director of the Sex Workers Project. “We do not need to be rescued, we need our human rights protected.”

SWP Receives Historic $1.2M Grant from the Sex Work Rights Fund

September 21st, 2020|

SWRF has made a generous donation of $1.2 million to SWP to significantly increase SWP’s capacity, size, scope, and impact. With this gift, SWP is able to hire a Director of Communications, Director of Development, Director of Research, Organizing, and Advocacy, and an Associate Director for State and Local Campaigns, as well as locally based organizing consultants. While continuing to focus on legislative efforts in New York, SWP will also focus on building a statewide campaign in Oregon to decriminalize and destigmatize sex work, partnering with SWR and other national, statewide, and local human rights organizations through 2020 and beyond.

Call off your old, tired ethics

September 18th, 2020|

The Minnesota Daily

Testimonies from New York to Los Angeles tell the same story: officers aren’t above privacy violations, enforced acts of public nudity and inappropriate physical contact. The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center in New York City found that 17% of sex workers had been sexually harassed, abused or even raped by police officers.

‘I have a mortgage to pay’: Sex workers banned from small-business loans under CARES Act due to ‘prurient sexual nature’

May 24th, 2020|

Market Watch

“Sex workers are heavily affected by measures such as social distancing and business shutdowns because they simply cannot go to their workplaces anymore, and are seeing a sharp decrease in their clients. Unlike employees from ‘mainstream’ businesses, many sex workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits,” says Lynn Liu, the development and communications associate at the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City.

Remembering Lorena Borjas, the Mother of a Trans Latinx Community

April 2nd, 2020|

The first time Lynly Egyes met her, Borjas pulled a birth certificate out of the bag. Egyes was then a lawyer with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center and had recently taken the case of a young immigrant transgender woman who was in jail, facing felony assault charges for defending herself against an attacker—an exceedingly common predicament.

An Activist, a Warrior, a Mother to So Many: Lorena Borjas, Pillar of New York Trans Community, Dies From Coronavirus

March 31st, 2020|

Time Magazine

Egyes, 38, says she first met Borjas while working for the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. At the time, Egyes remembers she was representing two incarcerated transgender women; Borjas “just showed up” with a much-needed birth certificate for one of the women, pulling it out of the Mary Poppins roller bag she always carried with her.

What to look for in criminal justice reform in New York in 2020

January 1st, 2020|

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Trafficking is a lot more complex than that,” said Rosie Wang, director of Legal Advocacy and Services at the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. “Traffickers will force their victims to do criminal actions for them, like shoplifting and carrying drugs. They’re not eligible for relief because they’re not prostitution-related but they are trafficking-related.”

These Transgender Latinas Want New York State to Decriminalize Sex Work

July 18th, 2019|

The Daily Beast

Jessica Peñaranda is director of movement building at the Sex Workers Project. An advocate of Decrim NY, she said there is still plenty to be done. “Until we can have fair wages, affordable housing, and a welfare system, society will continue to punish sex-workers. There are so many things to do to bring every part of the system together as a community.”

Bill that could protect trafficking survivors from deportation has yet to reach floor in Albany

June 12th, 2019|

Queens Daily Eagle

“Trafficking is a lot more complex than that,” said Rosie Wang, director of Legal Advocacy and Services at the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. “Traffickers will force their victims to do criminal actions for them, like shoplifting and carrying drugs. They’re not eligible for relief because they’re not prostitution-related but they are trafficking-related.”

Should Sex Work Be Decriminalized? Some Activists Say It’s Time

March 22nd, 2019|

NPR

Thompson is now a human rights lawyer and the managing director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. It's among several organizations that are advocating bills to decriminalize sex work in New York City and New York state. They already have the support of various state lawmakers.

Lawyer and Escort RJ Thompson Wants to End the Stigma Around Sex Work

February 1st, 2019|

Now This

“The Sex Workers Project has been a leader in the national sex workers rights movement,” he stated. “You know, many of our clients are transgender women, many are undocumented, many are queer, many are people of color.”

Inside NY Courts Where Sex Workers are ‘Painted as Victims and Treated as Criminals’

September 21st, 2018|

The Appeal

The New York City research draws on interviews with court participants and direct court observations, and was conducted by the GHJP and the Sex Workers Project, a New York City-based organization providing legal services and other support for sex workers and people who have been trafficked.

GHJP Releases Reports on Prostitution “Diversion” Programs

September 17th, 2018|

Yale Law School Today

Diversion from Justice and Un-Meetable Promises are products of a multi-year collaboration between the GHJP and the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center (SWP-UJC) in New York. The collaboration, supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation, sought to bring the resources of the academy to support NGOs working with marginalized communities.

New Legislation Aimed at Fighting Trafficking on Digital Platforms Could Put Sex Workers in Danger

March 30th, 2018|

The Nation

Cracking down on digital sites could also push sex workers into riskier street-based work that is more prone to violence, exploitation or police targeting. R.J. Thompson, director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center (where the author once interned), and also a sex worker, says, “Working online and being able to screen clients online is really a great harm-reduction tool.

Sex-trafficking bill that killed Craigslist’s Personals is hurting sex workers

March 28th, 2018|

Vice

“It reduces safety for sex workers,” explained RJ Thompson, who serves as managing director of the Sex Workers Project and is a sex worker himself. “It pushes folks who work online back to street-based work, which has much higher incidences of violence, public health issues including HIV and other STIs, state violence in terms of police harassment and arrest.”

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