Even Jesus loved sex workers! Everyone know that.
I’ve posted a few times here before about Women With a Vision’s (swoon…) NO Justice campaign against Louisiana’s charmingly backwards SCAN law. Last year, they and their legal team successfully lobbied to reduce the sentencing for folks convicted of Solicitation of Crimes Against Nature (felony) to that of regular ol’ prostitution (misdemeanor).
And, now… Ta-da! This week, a federal judge has ordered that all peeps already added to the sex offender registry under newly-castrated SCAN be removed from it in the next 30 days. No takebacks (er… appeals).
As an anarchist with zero faith in electoral politics, I choose to put my time and energy into projects that I believe are trying to circumvent that system. These projects are often informal and small in scale and occasionally oppositional to (or just resentful of) liberal politics and non-profit work.
This campaign is an excellent reminder to me that it takes all kinds. The positive difference in the lived experiences of the ladies & gents who will soon be justly removed from the sex offenders list is almost incomprehensible. Being labelled a sex offender cost them time, money, and friends; job opportunities and access to resources; the simple privilege of being allowed near churches, schools, and children. Not to mention, it left them in a position of severe vulnerability to state and sexual violence. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into navigating the Louisiana legislature, particularly on behalf (or even as) sex workers. I am personally so grateful for Women With a Vision and their liberal, non-profit work.
Oh, happy day!
Went to court today to support WWAV and NO Justice and it was actually pretty awesome. The lawyers were very grateful for the substantial show of community support. The state’s representation was HILARIOUSLY shameful–near the end of the proceedings, the judge actually interrupted one attorney to tell her that they needed to go do some research and get back to him.
The plaintiff’s lawyers (our side), on the other hand, were just laying it down, left and right. Really impressive. They were arguing that SCAN and good ol’ regular prostitution are actually the same statute, just with very different consequences that can be meted out by cops and DA’s at their racist, homophobic discretion. Apparently, this is not really allowed. The state countered with “Uhhh… We don’t have the time to take all these people who are NOT child molesters off the sex offenders list, k? And, we don’t really feel like we can afford to go forward with these proceedings. Did you know that legal counsel is expensive?”
So, both teams have to turn in their arguments on paper in five days and the judge will decide whether or not he wants to deal with it which doesn’t make any sense to me. He was kinda already dealing with it today. Just finish it, right? And, then we’ll hear something in several months.
Lemme say, I’m not a your-vote-counts, sign-this-petition, reformist kinda gal but, this whole SCAN/sex offender registry legislation is so intrusive, so abusive that we are blessed that there are local organizers who have devoted themselves to its amendment. To remove persons who have been charged with a SCAN charge from the sex offenders list will offer real, tangible changes in access to opportunity and quality of life.
Which is why it is so goddamn disappointing that despite the fact that Women With A Vision (as a part of their two year old NO Justice campaign) just recently succeeded in persuading the LA State Legislature to remove persons convicted of Solicitation of Crimes Against Nature (aka blowjobs for cash) from the sex offender registry, some scumbag politician/bureaucrat types FOOLISHLY would like to propose that 400 women should stay on that list–you know, the one they just signed a law to exclude them from.
Whatever. Fuck those guys.
WWAV and NO Justice is calling for courtroom support this Wednesday, August 10, 10am at 500 Poydras – Courtroom C 551 . Can Louisiana keep 400+ people on registry for past SCAN convictions? We say no. Louisiana says yes.
Reposted from Nola Anarcha:
Less than a month after Women With A Vision won a victory for sex workers by getting a repeal of the Solicitation of Crimes Against Nature (SCAN) law through the Lousiana legislature, a law which labels sex workers with Sex Offender status meant for sexual assault perpetrators, NOPD continues it’s racist, P.R. motivated sweeps of minor offenders by arresting 9 women and charging them with the soon-to-be-repealed SCAN law.
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 or 14 years old. Most of these 13 or 14 year old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Others were “traditional wives” without job skills who escaped from or were abandoned by abusive husbands and went into prostitution to support themselves and their children. The fact that New Orleans cops firstly failed to protect these women when they were children from the violence of patriarchy and class society, and then have the gall to ATTACK THE VICTIMS when they use a means of survival that is a visible reminder of this system’s failures is a despicable attempt at obliterating any activities which remind them of where their massive degree of power, control and wealth in our society came from, while simultaneously re-producing and furthering that inequality as these women are forced to pay money to the courts for fines and fees, as their bodies in cells mean daily money to pay the Sheriff to house them, and as they lose the money from Johns to the whiter, more privileged sex workers (“escorts”) not targeted by NOPD. NOPD’s action simultaneously attacks society’s victims, takes away more power from the oppressed and gives it to the more privileged, and blames sex workers instead of Johns for prostitution when most wealth is controlled by men in our society, re-enforcing the system of patriarchy.
The insults against the dignity of the people who live in this city just keep on coming fast and furious.
Did you know that in Louisiana we don’t have counties, we have parishes and if you get caught sucking dick for money you don’t catch a prostitution charge, it’s considered a crime against nature? How quaint! It’s like you’re back in the Old Country!
Being sentenced under the Crime Against Nature by Solicitation statute means being labeled a sex offender. You’re obligated to inform your employer, landlord, church, neighbors, EVERYONE of your status (via your ID card and postcards–that you PAY FOR–EVERY time you move–$$$), which can be enforced for as long as 15 years, obviously causing you to miss out on housing and employment opportunities, and community and government resources (shelters, etc.). Non-compliance means more money and/or jail time. Poor women of color and LGBTQ folks are over represented amongst those convicted under this arcane and inhumane piece of legislation, which additionally, can be applied at any time between the arrest and conviction at the discretion of the police and prosecution, making it extremely susceptible to corruption, discrimination, and abuse. Continue reading