A rally is scheduled in the Charles North neighborhood of Baltimore on Friday night as part of a nationwide campaign to protest police profiling of transgender women.
The event, “We Stand with Monica Jones,” is named for a transgender woman and activist who was arrested last year on suspicion of prostitution in Phoenix under a controversial program there known as Project ROSE.
Walking while trans
Jones has gone on to lambast the program for profiling black transgender women as prostitutes just for walking down the street. She was just recently found guilty.
The ROSE stands for “Reaching Out to the Sexually Exploited,” and the program is a partnership between Phoenix police and the Arizona State University School of Social Work. Under the program, suspected prostitutes are detained, taken to a church and offered the option of either enrolling in an intervention and diversion program or facing arrest.
Supporters say the program helps women in the sex trade. Critics say the program detains women in handcuffs based on profiling and scant evidence — which could include simply engaging passersby in conversation — and then forces them into programs they may have no interest in taking part in.
The law the program is based on allows for people to be charged with prostitution if they “manifest the intent” to solicit.
The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the law and took up Jones’ cause and the fight against Project ROSE, as have several other organizations. The program has been written about a lot, including by Al Jazeera America and VICE.