A neighborhood in Baltimore, known as Charles North, recently saw a rally that focused on both transgender women and unjust profiling by the police. The event that spurred the rally, however, did not take place in Baltimore, but in Arizona. The rally was called “We Stand with Monica Jones”, and Monica Jones was a woman who was arrested in Phoenix, causing quite a controversy.
The police were working as part of Project ROSE when they arrested Jones; this is a program that is designed to both reach out to those who are being exploited for sex crimes and to put an end to solicitation and prostitution.
After Jones was arrested, she came out strongly against the police department. She claimed that they would look at black transgender women and determine that they were prostitutes, arresting them for this crime even if they did not have sufficient evidence to do so. Those who are critical of Project ROSE, who side with Jones, say that even simple things like talking to people on the street can be enough to trigger an arrest. Jones was found guilty in her case.
The organization that is behind the rally in Baltimore is known as SlutWalk Baltimore, though they are a division of a larger movement. They are interested in fighting for the rights of sex workers.
Those who are accused of sex crimes have the right to defend themselves, especially if they feel that they have been unfairly profiled when no crimes were committed. They have the right to go before a judge and jury to show why the arrest was unwarranted and to prove their innocence. Too often, there is a prejudice towards alleged sex workers, which can result in guilty verdicts in cases where there is a reasonable doubt.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Looking Out: Walking While Trans Isn’t a Crime, Protestors Say” Kevin Rector, Apr. 24, 2014