Project ROSE Is Arresting Sex Workers in Arizona to Save Their Souls
In May 2013, Monica Jones, a student and sex-work activist, was arrested for “manifesting prostitution” by the Phoenix police.
Hers was one of more than 350 arrests carried out by Project ROSE in conjunction with Phoenix police since the program’s inception in 2011.
Project ROSE is a Phoenix city program that arrests sex workers in the name of saving them. In five two-day stings, more than 100 police officers targeted alleged sex workers on the street and online. They brought them in handcuffs to the Bethany Bible Church. There, the sex workers were forced to meet with prosecutors, detectives, and representatives of Project ROSE, who offered a diversion program to those who qualified. Those who did not may face months or years in jail.
In the Bethany Bible Church, those arrested were not allowed to speak to lawyers. Despite the handcuffs, they were not officially “arrested” at all.