No New Jails NYC Statement

The Support Ho(s)e Collective sends its love and solidarity to our comrades in the No New Jails NYC coalition and to all of you today who want an end to the criminalization and caging of our sex working and hustling communities.

Our collective is comprised of current and former sex workers and militant co-conspirators. We seek to build radical community for sex workers in Chicago, comrades who are incarcerated at Decatur Correctional, and here in NYC. Our organizing is directly guided by the insights of our currently incarcerated collective member and insider organizer, Alisha Walker, and by our formerly incarcerated comrade, Judy.

Alisha wanted to directly share the following thoughts about what her time spent in jail, in pre-trial detention for 18 months, meant for her and fellow prisoners:

All the jailers did was dope us up on psych medications while awaiting trial. They tried to make us docile and complacent in our caging. We were barely fed, and when we were, there was never nutritious food. We regularly found roach eggs and pieces of plastic in our “meals.” We were actively pressured to take horrible deals to escape the abusive treatment and isolation. We were routinely dehumanized, drugged up, exposed to emotional and physical violence. We had no shower curtains or doors on our toilets, COs stared at our naked bodies and as we menstruated or shit. This is a system that works as designed. All jails and prisons do this. Call them humane, and I’ll call bullshit. I’m in downstate Illinois and I’m fighting against jails in New York City for this very reason. No person belongs in a cage.

Corey Johnson, do you hear Alisha? Do you hear us?!

For our comrade and for ourselves, we rise up with you today to demand the immediate closing of Rikers. We rise up with you today to shout “no new jails!” As sex workers we are keenly aware of the police and prosectutors roles in caging and criminalizing.

The violence of policing like raids on massage parlors, or in-call spaces in the name of rescue has never been justifiable. The targeting of vulnerable communities like migrant or new immigrant workers must stop. The police-led propaganda campaigns to incite people to report on their neighbors whom they suspect to be selling sex must stop! We want an end to police demanding sexual services for free and entrapping workers! We want an end to police coercing people to become informants! If you’re concerned about labor trafficking, remember this, the police traffic survivors of violence into the courts and jails.

DAs and prosecutors aggressively prosecute sex workers, especially Black and Brown, queer and trans folx to the fullest extent of the law, and migrant workers are pushed through the Human Trafficking Intervetion courts and into a system of surveillance.

District Attorneys, so-called “progressive” prosecutors, do you hear us? We are done with you! We have been done with you!

We will not have safer communities through policing! We will not have safer communities through jailing. We will not have safer communities so long as elected officials only care about their wealthy and well-connected constituents who are dripping with respectability politics that shames their neighbors!

We know that we must insist on and demand community-led solutions to harm. We know what’s best for our lives, our families and our broader communities–because we and our fellow hustlers live this shit everyday!

Comrades, accomplices, queers, fellow radical hos, it’s going to take all of us, advocating and fighting to build a better world—one that recognizes our value, humanity, bodily autonomy and agency as sex working or trading people. A world that protects our trans and gender non-conforming fam, a world that is free from white supremacy and bigotry. A world that truly believes Black lives matter. A world that fully acknowledges sex work is work. A world without police, without prisons, and without the criminalization of survival.

We will only see personal and political safety when those directly impacted lead their communities, develop solutions that do not rely on fear, arrest, entrapment, deportation and incarceration that the police bring.

We will only see safety when the cops are out of our communities, and sex workers are able to freely and openly address the real harms, grievances and struggles they already self-organize to address every single day without the threats and harassment they currently survive!

No cops, no new jails, not here, not anywhere, not ever!

(Art by Alisha Walker, words by SxHx Collective members)

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