Project Rose allows prostitutes to accept Jesus to get the charges dropped!!!!
In this article they are violating both the Arizona Constitution and US Constitution by mixing religion and government.
In "Project Rose", which is a joint project by the Catholic Church, Bethany Bible Church, the city of Phoenix, the Phoenix Police, the Phoenix Prosecutor and Arizona State University the prostitutes are told that if they accept Jesus the charges will be dropped. Something that is a blatant violation of but the US and Arizona Constitutions.
Phoenix's anti-prostitution program flawed, critics say
Megan Cassidy, The Republic | azcentral.com 8:05 a.m. MST June 9, 2014
The undercover officers were sure their suspect had been snatched out from under them just before the clinching moment.
Just before the undercover "john" could approach the woman in tight blue jeans and a fitted blue shirt on a central Phoenix street corner, a real john —or maybe a pimp? — in a large tan truck swooped into the parking lot and beat him to it. Phoenix Police Sgt. Clay Sutherlin, a backup officer, presumed it was the latter.
"It looks like they know each other," he said as he retreated in the unmarked vehicle.
Sutherlin guessed the man either alerted her to the sting or advised her that she hadn't made enough money. Minutes later, she exited the vehicle and continued down the sidewalk of the busy thoroughfare. The Phoenix police john offered her a ride, which she quickly accepted.
No more than five minutes later, marked and unmarked police vehicles closed in on the two.
"Will someone please explain to me what is going on?" the woman cried as handcuffs locked over her tattooed wrists. "I am not a prostitute. I am not a prostitute."
The female officer was less interested in the woman's declarations of innocence than she was in explaining today's next steps.
"You're not going to jail," the officer assured the woman. She calmed down in the back of a police vehicle.
Twice a year and for two consecutive days, undercover Phoenix officers descend on the city's known tracks — on the street and online — in search of those offering sex for pay. Suspects are placed into custody, but instead of being hauled off to jail they are instead transported to an activities building on the campus of Bethany Bible Church that has been reconfigured to resemble a small convention expo. Here, they are offered a variety of health and housing services as well as a hot meal, clean clothes and toiletries.
The program has been lauded as an innovative approach that allows police and prosecutors to offer prostitutes services to help them escape the life, but in the past several months, Project Rose has garnered criticism by those who say it amounts to an inappropriate use of police force and criminalizes some of the very women who are held up as sex-trafficking victims.
Less than a decade ago, the Phoenix police treated prostitution as a nuisance crime. But officers say their eyes were opened in 2006 when an abducted 15-year-old girl was discovered to be living in a dog cage when she wasn't being bartered as a sex slave.
"That was kind of the change for Vice," Sutherlin said.
Project Rose was built upon what police say is an evolved understanding of the profession — although the act itself is a crime, prostitutes are also victims, either by drugs, poverty, sex trafficking or a combination thereof, they say. Most enter the profession young and, officers now believe, usually because of abuse or desperation.
"Whether they're 13 or 75 years old, at some point her life has been stolen from her," Sutherlin said.
Project Rose began as the city's test to a theory that if prostitutes are offered social aid within the small window immediately after police contact, they could slow or stop the revolving door of criminalization for many of these women and men. The women are detained that day but not technically arrested, because they are not booked into jail, Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said.
On the first day of the most recent installment, nine Project Rose protesters from the Sex Workers Outreach Project stood on the sidewalk outside the church. SWOP members believe prostitution should be decriminalized and say sex workers don't need to be saved.
"You are not alone," they chanted.
They held up signs giving a phone number to reach them. A volunteer said her group would get them the same services offered inside without police coercion. They would also offer condoms to help the women do their job more safely.
Among the protesters was Monica Jones, a sex-worker activist, Arizona State University student and the spark that ignited much of the Project Rose controversy.
Jones was arrested in a Project Rose sting operation last year just days after she participated in another Project Rose protest.
Jones fiercely rejects the belief that prostitution is inextricably linked with sex trafficking. Prostitution and sex trafficking are not synonymous, she says, and she feels that the marriage of the two is being used to justify criminalizing sex work.
"They can say this shouldn't be legal because of trafficking," she said.
She maintains this principle in regard to women who are in the life for drugs or survival and feels it trivializes the real victims of sex trafficking.
"They're using their body to do what they've got to do," she said.
Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, one of the project's founders and director of the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research at ASU, defends the approach.
Vice units make prostitution arrests daily, she said. The program is one of the few occasions each year where a suspected prostitute truly has a way out.
As an academic, Roe-Sepowitz is studying whether social-service intervention is more successful through the Project Rose model or when offered after booking and a guilty plea.
"I feel like we've had this push now that says we look really pro-arrest, and the idea is really not arrest at all," she said. "It's about removing barriers and removing blockades to getting out of this lifestyle, if that's what that person wants to do. So it's an opportunity."
Project Rose has several supporters as well, including many of its graduates.
In early 2012, when Elisa Cordova discovered that the man who picked her up on Van Buren Street was an undercover officer, her only thought was, "thank God."
Cordova said she went through the motions at Project Rose, still eager to return to the drugs in her hotel room, but met with a Dignity diversion representative who inspired her to actually show up for that first class.
"I had been beaten, I had been tortured, and I had been raped," she said. "I finished my classes, and I focused mainly on what I wanted out of life, because I was going to die out there."
Cordova said she feels that the threat of jail was the thrust she needed to pull herself out of a dangerous lifestyle.
"It was a reality check," she said. "I think the laws actually saved me."
City of Phoenix Prosecutor Aarón J. Carreón-Aínsa said prosecutors must start with the fundamental that prostitution is against the law and a very serious crime. [Yea, and so if mixing religion and government by dropping the charges when the hookers agree to accept Jesus as their Lord and enroll in "Project Rose"]
"And so you ask yourself the question, are these people victims? And if they're victims, then let's treat them as victims," he said. "At the same time, they are doing things that are harmful not only to themselves but to society."
The women in Project Rose are offered services on the spot and bypass the arrest, booking, charge and conviction that preceded traditional diversion programs, Carreón-Aínsa said. [something that is blatantly unconstitutional because it is mixing religion and government by offering to drop the charges if the alleged hookers agree to accept the Christian God Jesus as their Savior]
"The difference is the way of reaching the diversion program," he said. "There is one step, and that is Project Rose itself."
If the suspects are not eligible for diversion or fail to complete it, criminal proceedings continue as they would normally. Carreón-Aínsa said suspects are more likely to show up for the first day of class if they enter through Project Rose.
Many of the program's critics would theoretically share the same goal as Project Rose — to divert sex workers from criminalization.
Dan Pochoda, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said the ACLU champions diversion programs as a better use of resources for many in the criminal system but said such programs should respect the autonomy and rights of the persons involved.
Police and prosecutors are being used on behalf of Project Rose for the improper purpose of rounding up potential clients and not because of concerns from the public or increased criminal activity, he said.
"Some persons will be arrested in these planned police 'sweeps' for Project Rose who otherwise would have been left alone on that occasion," he said.
Pochoda noted that by agreement with the project, the Phoenix police deliver those rounded up directly to the project intake at a local church and not to a court for the usual appearance. [The Phoenix Police are bring prostitutes they arrest to a CHURCH instead of a jail and offering to drop the charges if they accept Jesus as their savior??? That's a violation of both the Arizona and Federal Constitutions]
"The persons brought in are not free to leave and are talked to by Phoenix police and prosecutors while being denied the ability to consult with an attorney in order to make an informed choice about program participation," he said. [And a violation of the 6th Amendment too!!!!]
Pochoda said there is a reason that diversion programs are not typically offered or accepted until after a defendant has had a chance to consult with an attorney and make a court appearance, at which time her rights will be explained.
"At that point, the gratuitous coercive elements inherent in the Project Rose operation are no longer present and a diversion program can be chosen based on its merits and not out of confusion or fear," he said.
Once inside Project Rose, suspects are uncuffed and escorted through the program by a volunteer and former sex worker, where they are explained the deal and offered services. Responses to the operation vary.
A hardened, older-looking woman in orange shorts told her counselor that Project Rose caught her at the right time. She was ready to change.
A young woman wearing a blue-jean jacket and a scowl clicked her teeth with bright blue acrylic nails as she waited for the intake process. She was patted down by a female officer in latex gloves and escorted out of the room.
"That one they just took?" said the woman asking intake questions to city prosecutors. "Drugs in her crotch."
Two college-age girls came in together with nearly matching blue dresses and six-inch pumps. The girls refused nearly all of the services offered but stuck around for a while and chatted cheerfully with the volunteers.
A soft-spoken young woman at the housing station tells volunteers that she "kinda sorta" has a place to live. She is typically permitted to stay with her dad for about one week out of the month before he kicks her out again. She is directed to a youth shelter.
Last year, Jones was one of these women inside Project Rose.
Jones, who is a Black transgender woman, has consistently maintained her innocence and believes she was targeted because of her sex and skin color and "walking while trans." She said she was ineligible to go through Project Rose because she had already completed a diversion program. She went to trial before a municipal judge in April.
Jones' account of the time spent in the car with an undercover officer differed on key elements. He said she exposed her breast, for instance, which she denied. Jones said she was simply accepting a car ride.
A throng of supporters attended Jones' April trial, including the ACLU of Arizona, whose attorneys called into question the constitutionality of the "manifestation of prostitution" law under which she was arrested. Pochoda at the time argued that the ordinance criminalized free speech.
Regardless, a judge found Jones guilty, but her sentencing has been tabled during her appeal.
Jones' case has garnered widespread attention. Actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox noted Jones' crusade at the April GLAAD Media Awards, and Jones has recently been scheduled to attend several speaking engagements. Jones often uses her platform to speak about Project Rose, arguing that services should be offered through outreach programs rather than contact with law enforcement.
"Why can't we help them without threatening to take them to jail?" she said. "They say these women are trafficked because of their lifestyle, but they arrest them. Why not really go out there and say 'Hey, what do you guys need?' "
Aligning with this rationale, Stephanie Wahab, an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University, and a doctoral student there, Meg Panichelli, have written an editorial for Affilia: The Journal of Women in Social Work that airs their "outrage" for the program.
"We challenge the assumption that arresting (or participating in the arrest of) people 'for their own good' constitutes good or ethical social work practice," the editorial reads. "Rather, we believe that targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards, as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry."
Roe-Sepowitz said prevention care and outreach services are costly and scant in Phoenix and said funders are scarce. She said Project Rose is an avenue to bring those services to the women and men who need them most.
"The 13 organizations that we work with have all tried, in their own ways, to work with this client type," she said.
"Oftentimes they have resources for women in need and they just can't reach them."
Republic reporter Richard Ruelas contributed to this article.
Project Rose just completed its sixth installment, bringing in 67 adults, including 64 women, 2 men and 1 transgender individual, all between the ages of 18 to 57, with an average age of 31. Of these men and women, 61 were offered prostitution diversion, with six ineligible due to previously completing the diversion program. In the previous Project Rose operations, the compliance rate, or those who complete the diversion program, is about 27 percent.
| ||PR 1|| PR 2|| PR 3|| PR 4|| PR 5|
|Number Contacted|| 51|| 76|| 87|| 97|| 54|
|Number Offered Program|| 43|| 72|| 78|| 83|| 43|
|Compliant|| 14|| 18|| 24|| 18|| 11|
|Non-compliant|| 29|| 54|| 54|| 65|| 31|
|Compliance Rate|| 33%|| 25%|| 31%|| 22%|| 26%|
|The following figures represent the number of individuals who accepted services at each of the Project Rose providers during the recent May operation.|
|Tumbleweed Youth Services|| 20 youth ages 18-25 provided referrals to services|
|EMPACT / La Frontera Mental Health Services|| 40 clients seen and evaluated, 24 clients assigned to Navigator services(14-day mental health service), and 12 clients provided with food boxes|
|Community Bridges|| 19 clients seen and evaluated, 2 went to detox program, 1 went to outpatient psychiatric center|
|Housing|| 33 clients contacted about safe housing options, 18 clients identified as homeless and requiring crisis-level housing assistance
Long-term counseling for substance-abusing women (NCADD) 16 clients were referred for services with one client, 5 months pregnant, placed in long-term supportive housing.|
|Healthcare services|| 27 clients received medical services/consults|
|Sexually Transmitted Infection/HIV testing Terros/Native Health|| 22 clients were tested. If test positive, they will be offered free treatment.|
|Figures provided by Phoenix Prosecutor's Office and ASU's Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research|