Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

 

The Protection of Communities and Exploited persons act, Bill C-36, a harmful new piece of legislation introduced by the Conservative Canadian government in response to last year’s Bedford decision, looks set to become law.

5th November 2014 by NSWP

 

On October 21st the Oakland City Counsel quietly passed amendments to the Nuisance Eviction Ordinance requiring landlords to evict sex workers from the properties. Overshadowed by the passage of the Tenant Protection Ordinance, which aims to protect tenants against rent hikes, the amendment requiring the eviction of sex workers only came to light when journalist Susie Cagle tweeted about it.

3rd November 2014 by NSWP

On the 18th of September, two teenage girls were found dead on the side of a road in Jacksonville, Florida. The bodies of the two young women, Tjhisha Ball and Angelia Mangum, who were 19 and 18 years old, respectively, had apparently been thrown off an overpass and were discovered by a passerby in the early hours of the morning.

21st October 2014 by NSWP

The Associated Press (the world’s largest newsgathering organisation, based in New York City) is accepting suggestions for the 2015 version of its stylebook, a writing style guide for journalists. The stylebook is updated annually to reflect changes in writing style and new guidelines, and this year sex worker activists are urging the organisation to drop “prostitute” in favor of the preferred “sex worker.”

21st October 2014 by NSWP

After nine years of organising, the joint efforts of NSWP member groups Best Practices Policy Best Practices Policy Project and HIPS, together with groups including Casa Ruby and the DC Trans Coalition have succeeded in having the District of Columbia’s “Prostitution Free Zone” policy overturned.

16th October 2014 by NSWP

Launched in September 2013, New York’s Human Trafficking Courts (HTICs) are the first statewide human trafficking intervention within a justice system in the United States. The courts function as a “diversion” programme by connecting those arrested for prostitution to mandated social services rather than incarceration. Defendants who complete a mandated programme can have their case dismissed and sealed, provided that they are not rearrested within six months.

2nd October 2014 by NSWP

In Canada, Bill C-36, which has been roundly criticised by sex workers, looks likely to pass, in its original form.

29th September 2014 by NSWP

Last week, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 336,legislation requiring district attorneys to get a court’s permission to use possession of more than one condom as potential evidence of prostitution. It will go into effect on January 1st, 2015.

25th September 2014 by NSWP

In an unusual case of strong sentencing, a 23-year-old man, Damique Fennell, who led the attack and robbery of a 27-year-old transgender sex worker in New York City was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

“Several decades ago”, said District Attorney Cy Vance in a press release, “a case like this one may not have gone to trial, but today’s sentencing and the convictions of these defendants represent a significant step towards obtaining justice for all crime victims, regardless of background.”

15th September 2014 by NSWP

As the Canadian government rushes to push through Federal Bill C-36, their proposed new sex work legislation, before their December deadline, the Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee will be meeting on Tuesday, September 9th to discuss it.

8th September 2014 by NSWP