Criminalizing Women’s Lives and Women’s Worlds
Through the NO Justice Project, WWAV works to end the criminalization of sex work by recalling the current practice of charging and convicting individuals with Solicitation of a Crime Against Nature Statute (SCAN)-Statute 14:89(A)(2), a felony conviction.
Charging working women with a felony under the SCAN Statute is a human rights violation. Prosecution under this statute is not happening in a vacuum; it is happening within a climate of persistent lack of access to adequate services, violence, extreme poverty, and a lack of respect for and implementation of preventative health strategies.
This law disproportionately affects poor women of color, who are even more marginalized in the post-Katrina New Orleans. Most of the women with a SCAN conviction are low income, have struggled or are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and/or cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. We need better, more targeted, comprehensive and coordinated services for formerly incarcerated women and consistent follow through from social services, not more jail time.
Envisioning a World where All Women Can Realize their Hopes and Dreams
We want the DA and Judges to stop imposing harsher sentences for women convicted of SCAN, such as registering as a Sex Offender; this traps them in a cycle of violence and poverty by alienating the women away from needed social services, assistance, and access to jobs. This falsely stigmatizes and marginalizes the women in the community as perpetrators against children and can drive them back into a life where sex work is a means to an end or a way out of poverty.
The NO Justice Project is grounded in the stories and lives of women who are at risk for prosecution and who have been prosecuted or threatened with prosecution under the Solicitation of a Crime Against Nature Statute.
Society needs a war on the systems that facilitate poverty, not a war on impoverished women. Helping society’s most marginalized women to succeed is a better strategy to improve public safety as opposed to further alienating them away from society.
Women, especially formerly or currently incarcerated, deserve quality education and access to job training, skills development, personal empowerment, and culturally competent support systems not more jail time, so when they return to society they are better equipped to handle life’s needs and stressors.