Missing Person Alert

Our community members are concerned for the safety of this person. Please circulate.

If you see her, the action plan is to contact the PPD.

Stay safe,

Project SAFE



Want to support women surviving street economies?

There are many ways to support women surviving street economies. From being an ally to people in the sex trade to working with our team.

We have been excited to (re)launch a Women’s Drop In last month, where folks can come in, relax, access clothing, harm reduction and health supplies.

Right now, women are requesting toiletries – please consider donating toiletries from hotels to us!

A warm, delicious meal is another way to make a difference in someones day. If you are able to collaborate with friends, family or community group to cook a meal that feeds 30  – that would be most appreciated!

We meet every Tuesday evening.

Please follow up with us at safephila@gmail.com

get involved button

Researching marginalised groups: some difficult questions


We often get research requests that our participants find harmful and exploitative. We have posted about this before but this blog is another gentle check-in before as you consider your thesis, dissertation or whatever it is you think that we can help you with.

In short: “To summarise: if your research is not needed, don’t do it. If you’re unsure of your motivations (or if they’re self-serving), don’t do it. If you’re a complete outsider, don’t do it. If you can use existing sources of data, use them. If you do end up working with marginalised people, look after them. Afterwards, give up your platform whenever you can.”

However if you want to do research WITH us – let’s talk!

Originally posted on genders, bodies, politics:

Every year, students on the MA in Gender Studies ask questions about doing research with marginalised groups. The university is an incredibly privileged environment, but many of our students are politically committed and care passionately about issues of inequality. Often, they want to contribute to causes by conducting their dissertation research on related topics. However, there are questions around whether exploring these through research with human subjects is appropriate – too often students end up asking for time and attention from people who already live difficult lives, and producing projects which (due to time constraints and a lack of background knowledge) make little difference. I therefore advise students to ask themselves a number of questions while selecting their research topics:

  1. Who is this research for? Is there a demonstrable need?

The best way to approach this question is to design research in collaboration with community groups – some charities and…

View original 1,815 more words

Everywhere But Safe: Public Injecting in New York & Supervised Injection Facilities

A supervised injection facility (SIF) is a place where people who inject drugs can self-administer pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals or other staff. Facility staff members do not directly assist in injection but are present to provide sterile injection supplies, answer questions on safer injection practices, monitor for potential overdose, administer first aid if needed, and link people to healthcare and social services, such as housing, addiction treatment, and mental health support.

Everywhere But Safe explores the risks associated with public injection in NYC. Learn more about the campaign for supervised injection facilities here.

Six Problems With Media Coverage on the Sex Trade

Originally published on Huffington Post.

Co-Authored by Katherine Koster, Sex Workers Outreach Project – USA, Communications Officer & Lindsay A. Roth, Project Safe Executive Director

While everyone is charged up by Mary Mitchell’s exemplary example of “how not to write about people involved in the sex trade,” Lindsay and I would like to offer a few tips to the media about how to ethically report on sex work:

1. Stop publishing the mugshots, full names and addresses of people arrested for prostitution. Stop publishing them for clients. While we’re at it stop publishing identifying information for all non-public citizens arrested for crimes (unless that crime was, you know, a series of violent murders that the person confessed to).

Although the overwhelming majority of defendants plead guilty (check out Last Week Tonight if you have any questions about why), being arrested does not prove someone guilty — any more than, say, a few emails forwarded to your paper by a male escort. The news world got cranky when a media executive who had arranged to do something illegal was outed for that… why is it so gung-ho about publishing mug-shots of disproportionately poor, largely black and latino men arrested for (and equally not yet proven guilty of) the same type of crime? We’re all for puritanical shaming a la Salem 1692, but we have a sample bias here, and until we can shame equally across class and race lines, we just don’t feel good about connecting people to crimes they may not have committed in a permanent public record.

We also get that this is institutionalized, but you can at least start the conversation with your publication. We also know that mug-shots make easy news photos… but so do all of the police-car or women-in-handcuff stock photos on Getty. Names humanize a story, but do you really need a last name?

2. Check your source’s stats and research! The recently Melissa Farley studywas widely featured by major publications until Hilary Hanson and Elizabeth Nolan-Brown picked it’s methodology apart. Reliable data on trafficking is rare, but citing calls to a hotline is not a proxy for incidences of exploitation! We could go on. We know fact-checking is hard — but if a quick google search fails, you can always use this an opportunity to reconnect with your Freshman BFF who majored in econ/sociology/public policy: “Hey gurl — miss you like crazy, what’s up? I got married and am pregnant — time moves so fast! Hey, Btwz, any thoughts on the methodology of this study?”

3. Ask questions, especially about race, class and collateral damage. It makes for more accurate reporting and more interesting reporting. For example, Emi Koyama found that FBI operations to “rescue” trafficking victims involved arresting 10 adult female sex workers for every “rescue” and that “rescue” often meant arresting youth or forcing them back to systems that had failed them. Red Umbrella Project found that over 85% of defendants in Brooklyn and Queens prostitution courts were black, Latina or asian. Rachel Lovell learned that over 85% of Chicago police department john arrests involved black and latino men. The Chicago Reporterdiscovered that felony prostitution convictions made up 97% of all prostitution-related felonies in Cook County between ’08 and ’11.

Look — we get that you’re under time pressure and for last minute news overviews, it’s easier to just cut and paste from press releases. But if repeated research and in-depth features indicate that the press release is not a complete or accurate description of what happened, this becomes dishonest reporting.

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick call to the media contact. Some questions to ask: “What do you mean by rescued?” “Did the operation include any prostitution arrests or municipal ordinance violations related to selling sex? If so, how many? “Do you have demographic information on the individuals arrested?” “What were the charges for those your press release call pimps?” And heck, even if you don’t have time to call, if you know every prior operation has involved the arrest of hundreds of sex workers, the least you can do is add the sentence “previous Operation Rescue Sex Slaves stings involved the arrest of hundreds of sex workers.” Or “However, some advocates argue that rather than sex slaves, children identified in such operations are really street-based youth in need housing and food working without a pimp.” Or (an actual example) “The statement didn’t indicate whether those arrested were prostitutes or clients, and police didn’t immediately respond to requests for further information.”

4. Use multiple sources, and don’t omit relevant information and/or counterpoints. Even if it’s technically true, if it’s misleading, it isn’t honest. For example, while “anti-trafficking advocates and sex workers are pitted against each other in a debate on decriminalization” is a phenomenally catchy phrase, it’s also a misleading one given that some of the largest U.S., European, and global anti-trafficking networks support decriminalization. Copying and pasting unrelated statistics to make a case for something none of the organizations who produced those statistics support isn’t honest, even if the numbers themselves are accurate. Sharing only one side of an argument when a basic news search for “prostitution” shows that that is not the only viewpoint isn’t honest.

5. Quote people involved in the sex trade, and publish letters and op-eds by current and former sex workers. Sex workers are assumed to be an “invisible” population, or a population that is unable to speak for themselves. There is, in fact, much evidence to the contrary. The Sex Workers Outreach Project has over 27 chapters nationwide, and many include people with lived experience in the sex trade in their leadership who would love to speak to the media. And SWOP is just one of many organizations out there — stateside and globally. Don’t just rely on non-profits — sex workers have a huge online community, especially on twitter and tumblr, and there are a number of sex work blogs (Some of the leaders are Tits & Sass andEminism).

Needing a quote in the next two hours is a major barrier to the inclusion of sex worker voices, especially diverse sex worker voices. Publication policies that prohibit source anonymity, discourage citing already published writing or interviews, or don’t allow for publishing letters and columns under a pseudonym are others. If requested, the identities of sex workers should be protected, They are a criminalized population, and often face extreme societal stigma. Sex workers take great risks talking to media — but that doesn’t mean they are unwilling to do it. Sex workers should have an opportunity to use pseudonyms, and their place of work or other identifying information should not be disclosed.

People who work in the sex trade by choice, circumstance or coercion, have a variety of experiences. There is no way one or even a few sex workers can speak for everyone, but it is crucial to include their voices. From policy to programming, the perspectives of sex workers are systematically excluded. Journalists should be aware of their historical role in perpetuating this… and work to change it.

6. STOP mis-gendering sex workers, and stop relying on racist and sexist stereotypes. We shouldn’t have to tell you this…but apparently we do. Stopdemonizing aspects of black culture and coopting the language of slavery and civil rights. Please be aware of the way you do write about sex workers — especially transgender sex workers and sex workers of color: Are you honoring their names and gender identities? Have you belabored physical descriptions of their bodies to the exclusion of other facets of their life? Do you assume that all sex workers are cis-women? Do you make gendered or racial assumptions about agency and choice?

Straight up: do you rely on racist tropes or discuss the physical appearance of other workers in your journalism? If you do — check yourself. That’s rude, and that’s racist and that’s sexist. Just. Stop.

There’s a ton more we could say. We’d love for folks to add things we’ve missed in the comments section. And disclaimer: this doesn’t apply to all professional journalists — some of y’all rock our socks!

There are also other resources on ethical media coverage of the sex trade. For further reading, check out:

Local Sex Worker Rights Activists on CCPTV53’s Tapestry of Life

Sharron L. Cooks of Making Our Lives Easier, LLC and Lindsay Roth of Project SAFE and SWOP-Philly recently discussed “Sex Workers, Sex Trade, and Health” on Tapestry of Life on CCPTV53. Check it out!

A Guide for Sex Workers Human Rights Defenders

SWAN proudly presents “A Guide For SEX WORKER HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS”. This publication is aimed at sex workers of all genders and backgrounds, sex worker projects, human rights organizations and advocates. It contains practical information on how to start human rights documenting projects, to organize human rights campaigns and to use formal human rights mechanisms.


In this booklet you can find among others:

– different models of human rights documenting;

– tips on interviewing victim or witness of human rights violation;

– tips for writing Human Rights Submissions and Letters;

– how to report sex-workers’ rights abuses through UN Special Procedures;

– helpful links for Human Rights Submissions;

– useful contacts of Human Rights Groups;

– some more useful info for your documenting and advocacy work;

You can find English version here and Russian version here.

Free Hepatitis C Training Workshop!

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.21.24 AM

For more information or to register contact:

Dejenaba Gordon, MPH

Project Director

Philadelphia Hepatitis Outreach Project (P-HOP)

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC)

Office: 267-773-4412

Cell: 215-880-4259


Guest Post – The Real Barriers to Care: What We Truly Need to Combat HIV

Originally posted on RADICAL FAGGOT:

Cassie Warren is a health educator, activist and youth worker dedicated to radical access to affirming health services, especially for trans and queer young people. She works at the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago–a community space for trans and queer youth experiencing homelessness.

Last month, Cassie was invited to speak at the International AIDS Society’s Pre-Conference Convening on PrEP and Young People, on a panel dealing specifically with PrEP, a new pill that prevents the acquiring of HIV. They took the opportunity to address publicly not merely the barriers that keep trans and queer young people–particularly those of color–from getting on PrEP, but the structures of US healthcare that purposefully deny effective and affirming care for oppressed people at large. Here is what they had to say:

Young, trans and queer activists reminding us what really stands in the way of healthcare. Young, trans and queer activists reminding us what really stands in the way of healthcare.

Today, I will be speaking from my current experience and relationships with young people…

View original 1,537 more words

Do you have 2 minutes for the rights of people in the sex trade?

Dear Supporters,

Amnesty International has spent two years consulting and conducting researching in several countries – including the United States of America – around how to address the violence and other human rights violations against sex workers, the conclusion was they would adopt a policy supporting decriminalisation of sex work as a protective measure for protecting the human rights of sex workers and in particular addressing the violence that female, male and transgender sex workers face across the world. The policy is to be considered and voted upon at their International Council Meeting on 6 August 2015.

However the Coalition Against Trafficking Women has initiated a campaign, supported by a number of high profile celebrities to block the policy.

We are asking our supporters to join us in supporting the proposed policy by signing this change.org petition from the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. This letter can be found here. Please consider sharing this among your networks to continue to raise awareness and garner support.

A letter of support (or many letters) are immensely welcome, as well. In particular, letters highlighting the health, human rights and harm reduction impact of decriminalizing sex work and the importance of promoting sex workers’ human rights. It would be helpful if it also noted that the policy was developed after 2 years of consultation and debate. Sample letters can be found here.

The letter can be addressed to AI’s  director, Salil Shetty (Salil.shetty@amnesty.org).

In solidarity,

Project SAFE

red umbrella


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,562 other followers

%d bloggers like this: