Monica Jones, a trans activist and sex worker rights advocate in Arizona, was profiled and wrongfully arrested as part of an anti-prostitution diversion program in Phoenix. She was not engaging in sex work, but was in fact walking down her street to the local bar the night she was arrested. As a transgender woman of color, Monica Jones has been routinely targeted and singled out for police harassment.
Since refusing to plead guilty to the charges she is innocent of, Ms. Jones has been targeted four additional times by police officers while walking around her neighborhood carrying out everyday activities such as bringing groceries home or heading to her local bar. Each time, the police use insulting and transphobic language and threaten her with arrest, despite the fact that she is doing nothing more than simply walking outdoors. Across the U.S., and here in Phoenix, transgender women of color are routinely targeted for harassment and hate-motivated violence, by both police and the public, and are frequently profiled as sex workers by police. Transgender women are also targeted for cruel treatment in prisons, including by guards.
Ms. Jones states, "I believe I was profiled as a sex worker because I am a transgender woman of color, and an activist. I am a student at ASU, and fear that these wrongful charges will affect my educational path. I am also afraid that if am sentenced, I will be placed in a men’s jail as a transgender woman, which would be very unsafe for me. Prison is an unsafe place for everyone, and especially trans people."
Monica Jones should not have to go to court to fight wrongful charges resulting from a discriminatory and arbitrary arrest stemming from a department in which she studies. Please stand with Monica by pressuring Phoenix City Prosecutor to ensure that the pending charges against Monica Jones are immediately dropped.
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