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DC Hearing on Prostitution Free Zones

24 Jan

For everyone who missed this morning’s live twitter extravaganza from the hearing over “Prostitution Free Zones” in Washington DC, here is some of the commentary that you missed.

We think that it’s important to watch how these debates play out in other cities, as these ideas are often contagious. We saw it with End Demand campaigns, and PFZ is set in a long tradition of “drug free zones” and the like that historically either simply displace the problem being addressed, increase racial and gender profiling, and don’t actually address any underlying issues. But they also sound enticing to the public, and enjoy enormous popularity. Sadly, this could become a trend that sex workers rights organizations have to face across the country.

More info:

Article explaining a bit about the DC situation: http://wamu.org/programs/metro_connection/12/01/13/dc_cracks_down_on_prostitution

Short documentary about how “Prostitution Free” zones affected sex workers and trans communities from 3 years ago http://vimeo.com/4652102

Excerpts from the DC Trans Coalition (@theDCTC)’s testimony against Prostitution Free Zones http://dctranscoalition.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/our-testimony-in-opposition-to-permanent-prostitution-free-zones/

The “Move Along” report from the Alliance for a Safe and Diverse DC, which shows some of the direct impacts of the enforcement of DC’s commercial sex policies (both new and longstanding) on people involved, or perceived to be involved, in the sex trade http://dctranscoalition.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/movealongreport.pdf

Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance petition against PFZ http://www.glaaforum.org/glaa_forum/2012/01/please-sign-petition-opposing-prostitution-free-zones.html

DCist Report from December: http://dcist.com/2011/11/dc_now_more_prostitution_free.php

Rheality Check from January 2010 about how bad these policies are: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/01/03/washington-dc%E2%80%99s-punitive-sex-work-laws-endanger-women%E2%80%99s-health-safety

Here are the tweets from a couple different people who were live-tweeting the hearing today. The only editing I’ve done is to put them in more of a paragraph format, clean a couple typos, and did not include some of their tweets that were direct responses to other people (or retweets of each other). I also removed the hashtag #PFZ because I figured if you’re reading this, you know what they’re talking about already. While these are interesting, and helpful to read, I wanted to keep this recap as straightforward as possible. I definitely recommend spending some time sifting through the links and ongoing conversations though!

Also – this will undoubtedly be updated as this debate rages on. So keep your eyes out. More to come!

*Important note. You’ll see a lot of tweets directed @CMYMA. That’s the twitter handle for Yvette Alexander, the Council Member for Ward 7 who introduced the bill to make “Prostitution Free” zones stronger

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