“WALKING WHILE WOMAN” Arizona Court Vacates Monica Jones’ Prostitution Conviction
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Jones, who is a black transgender woman and an activist, was charged with violating a vague local statute that considers waving at cars or engaging a passerby in conversation as evidence of “manifesting” an “intent” to sell sexual services. Jones and other activists argue that this “manifesting prostitution” statute allows police to unfairly profile transgender women, poor people and woman of color, and Jones may have been specifically targeted because she is an outspoken activist.
“When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones … walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being ‘known for prostitution,’ that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution,” wrote Chase Strangio, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.”
As Truthout has reported, police in cities across the country routinely profile transgender women and other gender nonconforming people - especially people of color - as sex workers for simply walking down the street, or “walking while woman.”