COYOTE August 2018 Newsletter

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COYOTE August 2018 Newsletter

Happy August! We’ve had a busy month planning new campaigns and partnering with other community organizations in Rhode Island, nationally, and globally. In this newsletter, we’ll talk about COYOTE-RI’s work both nationally and in the community, research findings and a report back on sex worker-led actions from #AIDS2018 in Amsterdam, as well as upcoming events and ways to get involved (or re-involved) in our activities.

COYOTE-RI in the Media

We were profiled in “COYOTE Rhode Island: SESTA/FOSTA = DEATH” in Uprise RI. The article explains findings from the COYOTE-led After FOSTA survey. The study revealed huge increases in violence and exploitation since the passing of legislation this past Spring. Notably, 60% of respondents reported taking on less safe clients to make ends meet and workers noted a 28% drop in screening practices for sex worker safety.

We also outline public health literature showing links between sex work decriminalization and improved public health outcomes. For example, decriminalization of indoor sex work from 2003 to 2009 was associated with a 40% reduction in incident gonorrhea and a 30% reduction in reported rapes.  We note findings from Lancet’s landmark series on sex worker decriminalization laws and HIV incidence, which calls for a reduction in punitive approaches surrounding sex work in favor of greater harm reduction services and access to treatment.

Reports Back from #AIDS2018 in Amsterdam

COYOTE-RI also showed up at #AIDS2018 in Amsterdam when Health Policy Advisor Julianna Brown presented research from original data collection on the needs of sex workers in the context of the HIV Continuum of Care. She was joined by sex workers from all over the world who led a number of actions on issues like FOSTA/SESTA and criminalization. Notable actions included EMPOWER’s targeting of condoms as evidence laws and the disruption of Bill Clinton’s speech by workers demanding action on SESTA/FOSTA.

COYOTE-RI at the National Sex Worker’s Summit

COYOTE-RI has also been active at the national Sex Workers’ Summit, which took place in Los Angeles in late June and culminated in a manifesto calling for decriminalization. The document, titled “National Sex-Worker Anti-Criminalization Principles,” and modeled on the response of LGBTQ individuals in response to the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s demands “autonomy and self-determination” for adults who work consensually in the sex trade. It also condemns prostitution “abolitionists” and those in the so-called rescue industry who aim to eradicate all commercial sex transactions. You can read the document here. We were thrilled to be represented among national leaders in sex work advocacy, and you can read more about our experience on our webpage.

Community Events

We’re very excited about upcoming events in Rhode Island with our community partners!

PrYSM (Providence Youth Student Movement) will be hosting a block party on August 17th from 4:00pm-9: 00 pm at 669 Elmwood Ave. It’ll be a great opportunity to learn about PrYSM actions including the rolling out of the Community Safety Act and other initiatives. Come socialize, enjoy free snacks, and get involved! Facebook link: here.

On August 22nd, DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) will hold a city council candidate forum addressing Providence’s Housing Crisis. The event will take place at the Elmwood Community Center from 5pm-8pm. Anyone is encouraged to ask questions on how candidates plan to address lack of long-term, affordable housing in Providence. Facebook link: here.

Get involved with us! Current campaigns:

We’re planning new actions to support sex workers in Rhode Island and beyond as the summer winds down. As always, we’re looking for folks to assist with logistics, planning, and outreach.

  1. Donate to COYOTE-RI! Our volunteers are unpaid, but funding helps us to expand outreach events and cover the costs we incur for events and services for workers. We are hoping to begin an outreach program for workers complete with “rescue-free products” and HIV testing, and any donations would help cover those costs. You can donate through our Paypal link on our website.
  2. Support an incarcerated sex worker through SWOP Behind Bars. New members will receive a welcome letter introducing SWOP Behind Bars, an Amazon Wish List and at least 2 pen pals as available.  Resource requests will be filled 6 months before release dates. Become a pen pal here and send a book directly to an incarcerated worker here. This is a great low-commitment way to support workers.
  3. We’re bolstering our advocacy efforts by tracking legislation surrounding sex-trafficking both in Rhode Island and the United States. We’re also considering our next legislation campaign for Rhode Island and hoping to expand laws that make it illegal for police officers to have sex with sex workers who are in their custody.
  4. We’re continuing analysis of data of 1515 participants from the recent COYOTE-run “Trafficking and the Sex Industry in the United States” to explore how we can identify current needs and better support workers.
  5. We’re developing comprehensive information on NGOs involved in the anti-trafficking industrial complex to identify where funding is diverted from sex workers and instead funneled into rescue efforts.

We are a team of volunteers, and if you are interested in any of these projects reach out to us. We are in need of volunteers who are skilled in writing, research, tech skills,  grant writing, coalition building and community organizing. For more information send us an email.