Monday, June 23, 2003
NEW YORK Street prostitutes in police custody suffer rape, assault, sexual extortion and harassment by officers, according to a survey that interviewed 30 sex workers.
The Urban Justice Center interviewed 30 sex workers from Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. More than 60 percent of the participants reported daily interactions with police that went beyond arrests to include sexual situations, violence and threats.
Police spokesmen said they had not seen the report and could not immediately comment.
Juhu Thukral, director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, said such police operations "violate the human rights of the city's most vulnerable population." She also said such treatment of prostitutes contributes to a system of "revolving door justice," doing little to solve the long term problem.
Two men and 28 women were interviewed in the study. Their ages ranged from 19 to 53; 21 had children.
Some of the prostitutes interviewed said they were never offered services like counseling. The majority of the participants were homeless or in unstable housing situations.
The report makes recommendations to the city, including a reexamination of targeting prostitutes during street sweeps and an intensive case management system to provide needed health care and counseling services.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Created: January 8, 2004
Last modified: January 13, 2004
Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710