Louisianan Justice

by Charlotte Shane on July 15, 2011 · 1 comment

in Activism, News

Deon Haywood

The end of June saw some big, wonderful news coming out of Louisiana that hasn’t yet gotten a mention here on T&S. (I blame Kutcher. It’s always his fault!)

Until two weeks ago, prostitutes arrested in Louisiana could be charged under an ancient “Solicitation of Crimes of Nature” law which would, if convicted, give them the status of felon and registered sex offender. Trans women and women of color were disproportionately targeted; other sex workers might be lucky enough to receive misdemeanor charges under the (separate) prostitution law. Superstar activist Deon Haywood was instrumental in overturning this archaic POS, and she’s guiding her group, Women With A Vision, to now pressure the state to remove 40% of New Orleans sex offenders from the registry, where they were placed after Crimes Against Nature convictions.

But not all is well in The Bayou State. Hypocrisy and, worse, police harassment of sex workers continue unabated. On the same day SCAN was overturned, police announced an (apparently new) policy of targeting clients as vigorously as they do prostitutes. Then two days after the news about the overturn of SCAN, police officers arrested one of their own in a sting operation. And any discussion of Louisiana’s sex work laws isn’t complete with a nod to current state Senator David Vitter, a confirmed, successful solicitor of prostitutes, who hasn’t faced any legal consequences for participating in the illegal industry. He remains fully, unapologetically entrenched in (conservative) politics.

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