Just weeks after Coyote published their press release “Condemning the City of Providence Police Department’s Raid on the Foxy Lady and the Arrests of 3 Sex Workers” even more bizarre events are unfolding between local cops and sex workers in Rhode Island.
One of the former arrested dancers from Foxy Lady’s that led to the club being shut down in December 2018, and putting 225 people out of work, just before Christmas has been arrested again. This time it seems a Boston police officer, paid the women for sex and then claimed that she stole his gun. Amazingly the cop wasn’t arrested for solicitation of prostitution, even though he paid the 2 women $2,500 for sex in a Pawtucket hotel room.
I’m also so confused by the Providence Journal article. It says that the cop noticed the gun was gone, then they called Neisha and she brought it to a local fire station so it could be picked up safely. After that they arrested her. How does he just “lose” his gun? This definitely isn’t the full story. And he’s only out on paid administrative leave while she sits in a cage with no bond until her next court date which isn’t for 2 more weeks. It seems that Neish Rivera is becoming a liability for local police, and we all should be concerned for her safety while she is in custody. The policing of the bodies of poor women who work in the sex industry has always led to police corruption and the exploitation of vulnerable women.
Just a few days ago, Providence police lieutenant pleaded not guilty to assaulting his girlfriend after working a detail at Wild Zebra, a Providence strip club where the girlfriend also works as a bartender.
Now let’s reflect a minute on how Steve Pare, the public safety commissioner said that the vice sting a at Foxy Lady’s, were conducted because they were concerned about public safety and that they felt the women were being exploited. And that they arrested the 3 dancers so they could pressure them to say that management knew that prostitution was taken place so they could keep the club shut down for good. The licensing board permanently revoked Foxy lady entertainment and liquor license and then the R.I. Supreme Court allowed Foxy Lady to reopen without their VIP rooms, until the courts rule on the case in April 2019
This is why Coyote is also Opposing RI S0096 (The Adult Entertainment Performance Tax) which would charge each customer entering the club a 2 dollar door tax, so the Attorney General can hand the expected 2 million dollars out at his pleasure, to local organizations to combat sex trafficking and pay to test rape kits. Click here to sign on to the letter of opposition
What I find even more baffling about this idea is that the state refuses to take responsibility for the broken DCYF system, and refuse to change course.
Let this sink in…..
Coyote believes that the millions of federal tax dollars already going to a few local organizations who claim to be combatting trafficking, should be redirected to LGBT halfway houses, and drop-in centers for youth, because the state is clearly failing to meet even their basic needs. So it’s not surprising that teenagers are running away from these neglectful and abuse state-run homes, and that they end up engaging in survival sex so they can access food and shelter. Nationwide research shows that the majority of these “throw away teens” do not have pimps and market facilitators and that they teach each other how to find clients while avoiding social workers and the police because the system has failed them over and over again. The state has created so many barriers that they can’t access vital services, like safe shelter. Yet that didn’t stop RI police from recently arresting an 18-year-old girl and charging her with sex trafficking. This is the foster home to prison pipeline.
Policing the bodies of poor women, while neglecting and abusing our youth isn’t a human value. Maybe its time for policymakers to listen to sex workers because they have solutions and they could be the best tool that we have to reduce domestic sex trafficking of minors, and protecting sex workers from violence and exploitation.
Written by Bella Robinson, executive director of Coyote RI- 401 525-8757