Imagine police stopping you, citing you, and even fining you with a criminal offense - for being "dressed to attract attention." While that sounds like a thing you might read about in a dystopian novel like The Handmaid's Tale
, this is exactly what is happening on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona
In the past 8 years, authorities have charged more than 450 people
with "manifestation of prostitution," Unsurprisingly, in a state that is increasingly hostile to people of color and LGBTQ+ people, this law has especially targeted Black and/or trans folks in the area. One attorney representing a person who had been charged with "manifesting prostitution" described the charges bluntly: you are literally "being prosecuted for what you are wearing."Sign now to demand Phoenix City Council scrap this unconstitutional ordinance and drop any related charges/convictions!
The bottom line is, you cannot tell anything about a person based on what they are wearing. Law enforcement has absolutely no right to make any assumptions based on a person's clothing, and then criminally charge them based on that assumption.
Much like stop-and-frisk, this policy is clearly unconstitutional. And, much like similar laws which rely on police discretion, it is being used to arbitrarily criminalize Black and trans people in the area.
The law apparently exists to further target and marginalize sex workers. But sex work shouldn't even be criminalized! What a person chooses to do with their body, without harming or endangering others, is nobody's business.
For a state as obsessed with "freedom" as Arizona, this is an extremely authoritarian policy.This ordinance is deeply unconstitutional, and it is time the Phoenix City Council reversed it for good. Sign the petition now if you agree!