Today at 4 p.m. (Thursday, April 10), the Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) will hold a rally in front of the Tucson Police Department headquarters, 270 S. Stone, "to demand justice and show support for Monica Jones, a student in the ASU School of Social Work who currently awaits trial after being profiled and falsely arrested through a prostitution diversion program called Project Rose."
Arizona has some of the most severe prostitution laws in the country. These laws rely heavily on the criminalization of vague activities like waving at cars, talking to passers-by, inquiring if someone is a police officer, and regularly violate the human and civil rights of those targeted. Thursday’s action is part of a nation-wide effort to raise awareness of the disproportionate impact of police action on our most vulnerable communities, including transgender people, women of color, poor people, and immigrants.
Since refusing to plead guilty to the charges she is innocent of, Ms. Jones has been targeted four additional times by police officers while walking around her neighborhood and carrying out everyday activities such as bringing groceries home or heading to her local bar. Every encounter with the police includes insults, transphobic language, and threats of arrest. Across Arizona and throughout the U.S., transgender people of color are routinely targeted for harassment and hate-motivated violence by police and the public, and are frequently profiled as sex workers by law enforcement. Incarcerated transgender people also receive the harshest and most violent treatment by other inmates and prison guards.
STAND WITH MONICA will dispel stigmatizing myths about sex workers, expose the devastating impact of diversion programs like Project Rose, and provide more information about how to support Monica Jones as she continues her fight for justice.