Last week, the San Francisco-based sex workers’ advocacy group, Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a lawsuit against the attorney general of the state of California and several District Attorneys charging that California’s current law against prostitution, Penal Code 647(b), is unconstitutional. The group’s attorney says that their case could potentially lead to the decriminalisation of prostitution in several states in the western United States.
Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Shaunna-May Trotman (Guyana Sex Work Coalition), Guyana
Natasha Potvin (Peers Victoria Resources Society), Canada
NSWP Regional Network
The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC) is a regional network of organisations representing female, male and transgender sex workers. It was founded in 2011 and is based in Georgetown, Guyana.
News articles from North America and Caribbean region are listed below.
The long-running case against Monica Jones for “manifesting prostitution” has finally been dropped, one month after her April 2014 conviction was overturned in an Arizona court of appeals.
On February 23, Sumaya Ysl, a trans woman sex worker of color, was found murdered in Toronto. Ysl’s death has added to a growing list of trans women, most of them women of colour, who have been lost to violence in North America this year. The confirmed number currently stands at eight.
In the state of Washington, USA, politicians are considering several new proposals to “end demand” for paid sex. Senate Bill 5277 (sponsored by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (Democrat), Senator Jeannie Darneille (Democrat) and Senator Mike Padden (Republican) among others) would increase the penalty for buying sex from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor, which means a fine of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
On January 26th, an Arizona appeals court overturned Monica Jones’ conviction of intent to commit prostitution. Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen found a lower court had denied Jones a fair trial by doubting her credibility (the judge in her trial, Judge Hercules, had said she was not a “credible” witness because she had a prior conviction for prosecution).
Shannon Williams, a tireless advocate for sex worker rights, died on January 20th in San Francisco. She was 48 years old and had been taken off life support upon her request following complications from a recently discovered brain tumour.
Earlier this month, NSWP member group Women with a Vision celebrated a quarter century of movement-building in Louisiana. The group’s 25th anniversary was commemorated with a fundraising party, with live musical guests, in New Orleans.
Sex workers are responding with outrage about a new reality show named "8 Minutes" set to air on the A&E channel. The show follows vice cop-turned-minister, Kevin Brown as he arranges to meet sex workers in hotel rooms and, within eight minutes, tries to “rescue” them from the sex trades.
This event will be held from 6 to 8 pm at Streetwise and Safe, on the 4th floor of the
Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice
147 West 24th St.
New York, NY 10011
Canada’s harmful new anti-sex work policy, Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, became law on December 6th, ironically Canada’s national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's premier, issued a statement a day after it took effect, saying she has a "grave concern" about the new laws.