SWOP Phoenix

Where gays and bisexuals learn more about themselves.

You are here: Home - Uncategorized


Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Deal with Erectile Dysfunction

By Reggie Dixon

Erectile dysfunction is a problem that unfortunately affects more and more men every day.

Most of them feel ashamed and embarrassed and they don’t talk to anyone about it. It can have a multitude of causes including stress and unhealthy eating habits. Various treatment methods exist and most of them imply the use of synthetic drugs.

However, all men affected by this problem need to understand that there is nothing shameful in it and, if they are involved in the as serious relationship, the support of their partner can work wonders.

There are also natural ways to deal with the erectile dysfunction problem.

However , the following are very helpful and also effective methods on how to deal with erectile dysfunction.

The methods are quite varied and I’m sure you’ll learn something new!

Hypnosis for erectile dysfunction Treatment

Some men are finding hypnosis to be the ED relief that they have been seeking.

This intricate subconscious method allows for trained experts to delve deep into the mindset of a patient.

Most of the times basically they are able to uncover the mental inhibitions which mainly contribute to erectile dysfunction, and then are able to help the patient mentally correct them.

Prescription Drugs

Conventional prescription drugs should not be entirely discredited, either.

While a costly solution that requires a doctor’s supervision, lots of men find the relief that they are seeking.

For some, these drugs just don’t work as they should. For others, the side effects are too vast, or they can’t take the drugs because of other medications they are taking, or they just can’t afford to purchase them for regular usage.

Natural Male Enhancers

Natural male enhancers are the most recent form of erectile dysfunction treatment.

Apart from dealing with the erectile dysfunction, there are some natural alternatives to the erectile dysfunction that can be tried without fearing the side effects in order to cure or prevent erectile dysfunction.

In that sense, they function in a similar manner to how drugs work. However, they tend to be more affordable and present a natural and alternative erectile dysfunction treatment option to the latter that does not require a doctor’s prescription or supervision.

These are natural supplements that contain organic ingredients that work naturally and safely to increase blood flow to the penis.

Confidence, determination and a positive attitude should be added to those in order to obtain fast and permanent results.

Eat healthily

The reproductive system needs certain nutrients in order to function properly and if you don’t provide them, problems like ED might occur.

Cut down the sugars, the processed foods, and fats.

Focus more on fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and whole grains. Keep in mind that your body also needs water.

Quit smoking

Numerous cases of erectile dysfunction are based on circulatory problems.

There are also some tips you can try in order to overcome erectile dysfunction.

Smoking provokes and enhances such problems, so quitting might make a significant difference what concerns your intimate life.

Change the setting in which you make love and add something new to the scenario.

Try to relax and to have a confident attitude and also avoid alcohol.

Additionally, you can check out WebMD for more on Erectile Dysfunction.

Support Monica Jones

By Reggie Dixon

Phoenix, Arizona has some of the most severe prostitution laws in the United States.

According to a municipal statute titled ‘manifestation’, an intent to commit prostitution includes activities like waving at cars, talking to passers-bys, and inquiring if someone is a police officer. Mandatory minimum sentencing and felony upgrades make it highly probable that workers are funneled into the prison system for sex work related offenses. Alongside Arizonas already brutal racial profiling laws, these anti-prostitution statutes enable police to profile and harass people of color, immigrants, people in poverty, and LGBTQ people.

The History of Project ROSE

Since 2011, Phoenix police, prosecutors, and professors from the Arizona State University (ASU) School of Social Work have been collaborating on a program titled Project ROSE (Reaching Out to the Sexually Exploited). Over two weekends per year, up to 125 police officers detain community members that are suspected of being sex workers. Even though the police and Project ROSE founders state that the individuals apprehended are not technically arrested, the Phoenix ACLU has stated otherwise-they are handcuffed and brought to the Project ROSE command post and are confined to a room to speak with a Project ROSE volunteer and a city prosecutor. Arrestees cannot speak to a defense attorney, even though they are being held without the constitutionally mandated option of being able to leave freely. People who qualify (only those with no outstanding warrants, those who have not completed a prior diversion program, and not in possession of any drugs at the time of arrest) are told they can take a diversion program run by Catholic Charities that can last as long six months. Criminal charges are held over the arrestee’s heads until the diversion program is completed. Those who do not qualify, or decline to participate in the diversion program, are sent a court summons in the mail and face criminal charges.

Project ROSE harms sex workers.

By teaming up with police and prosecutors, sex worker diversion programs like Project ROSE increase the profiling and targeting of vulnerable communities — poor communities, people in street based economies, and communities of color. Trans women of color are disproportionately impacted. Rather than making sex workers safer, diversion initiatives cause harm by funneling them into the criminal justice system. Project ROSE and programs like it violate ethical standards in social work and perpetuate the idea that individuals who sell sex are not human. Further, Project ROSE frames its work as saving sex workers — who are stigmatized as scarred victims rather than people with civil and human rights (the right to work, the right to be free from violence, the right to due process and much more). This “savior” mentality makes no distinction between people who are subject to human trafficking and those who engage in the sex trade to support themselves and their families. Project ROSE results in increased vulnerability and fear on behalf of sex workers, violating their rights while driving them into the criminal justice system. Similarly, Project ROSE may also violate the rights of victims of trafficking, and may not adhere to best practice standards for the treatment and care of trafficked persons set out by human rights advocates.

Who is Monica Jones?

Monica Jones is a trans activist and sex worker rights advocate who lives in Phoenix; she is also a student at ASU who recently gained entrance into the university’s School of Social Work.

During the Project ROSE stings in May 2013, Monica spoke at a community event protesting Project ROSE. The next evening, as the Project ROSE stings continued, police arbitrarily arrested Monica and charged her with violating a vague anti-prostitution statute. Monica is standing up for her rights in court and her trial date is on March 14, 2014. It is of the utmost importance that we stand in support of Monica and all others whose human rights are being violated by the police and prison system with the support of programs like Project ROSE. Ultimately, we must get Project ROSE’s mass arrest program off the streets of Phoenix and bring an end to police harassment and profiling everywhere.

Since her arrest, Monica and others have continued to protest Project Rose. As a trans woman of color, Monica has been especially ssingled out for police harassment. Police have approached her three times when shes been near her home or walking around Phoenix, and the most recent time she was handcuffed again and under suspicion of manifestation. Monica’s case proves that Project ROSE is harmful.

Project Rose is planning its next sting operation in February. ASU has hosted several summits on sex trafficking and Project ROSE is being hailed as the new model for preventing sex work across the United States. Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-Phoenix), the Best Practices Policy Project, and other harm reduction and trans activist groups are uniting to stop Project ROSE and put an end to this coercive and unethical model of policing, and to change Arizona sex work laws.

SWOP-Phoenix and the Best Practices Policy Project have recently filed a report of civil rights violations to the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of Arizona sex workers. We invite you to join us in speaking out against unjust criminalization programs like Project ROSE.

Please sign this letter to make your voice heard against Project ROSE and the collaboration between ASU School of Social Work and the City of Phoenix.

The pledge to support Monica Jones and protest Project ROSE

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, protest the coercive and criminalizing tactics of Project ROSE. We believe that Project ROSE stigmatizes sex workers as victims rather than people with agency and rights. Further, we believe that Project ROSE causes far more harm in the form of incarceration and forced “reeducation” than it does good. We demand that Arizona State University cease its partnership with Project ROSE, and that Project ROSE is ended entirely.

We demand that the resources allocated to Project ROSE are channeled to developing sex worker led, non-coercive models to support the health and safety of sex workers that promote harm reduction and improve occupational health, safety and working conditions rather than criminalizing and profiling vulnerable communities.

We are alarmed at the targeting of a human rights defender- Monica Jones- who is standing up for the rights of people unfairly targeted by the police and prison systems. We demand that the criminal charges against Monica be dropped, that an independent monitoring body launch an investigation into police harassment against her, and that she be protected from further abuse and harassment by police.

We are united in calling for an end to the pattern and practice of racist and transphobic policing across the United States, and we commit ourselves to working for a society where people of all backgrounds and identities are free from police abuse and discriminatory arrest.

Arizonas Tenacious Laws Against Sex Workers

By Reggie Dixon, 11/14/13

Arizona has some of the harshest penalties for prostitution in the US. Even the Phoenix Police Department and District Attorney’s office see a need for change.

Project ROSE (Reaching Out on Sexual Exploitation) is a new collaboration between police, prosecutors and University of Arizona’s School of Social Work that is hailed as an effort at offering an alternative.

However, after spending two days with Project ROSE, I found many of those affected by these laws felt that this high-profile reform made little difference.

Arizona is one of a handful of states that dictates mandatory minimums and felony upgrades for selling sex. Those convicted for the first time serve 15 days in jail with no possibility of probation or parole. The fourth conviction rises to the level of an automatic felony and a minimum of 180 days.

“Ive worked on these issues for more than 20 years,” said Penelope Saunders, an advocate for reform of policies related to sex work and director of Best Practices Policy Project. “Ive been a harm reductionist, Ive been a service provider, Ive been a researcher, and even I was not aware of the degree to which people are being incarcerated here in Arizona for prostitution related offenses.”

However, the city of Phoenix has had a diversion program on the books since 1997. On their first prostitution conviction, people are offered the choice to take classes through a programme offered by Catholic Charities instead of jail. If they complete the programme, they will not have a conviction on their record.

Project ROSE, which started in 2011, brings a new innovation: Those arrested are brought straight to a donated space in a church rather than taken to jail or seeing a judge. Once there, they meet with representatives from the police and prosecutors and if they agree to stay, they meet with social service agencies and are asked to take a several-month-long diversion programme offered by Catholic Charities.

About 10 percent of those arrested and brought to Project ROSE do not qualify for any assistance, generally because they have an outstanding warrant or too many convictions. Those people are led out in handcuffs and taken to jail.

No real reform

Of those that remain and choose to take the diversion programme, about 30 percent complete it, and overall about 10 percent are re-arrested within the first year. These percentages of completion and of re-arrest are nearly the same as without Project ROSE, fueling complaints from advocates that it does not offer real reform.

For many, the injustice of Arizona’s system was crystallised by the death of a 48-year-oldwoman named Marcia Powell.

Powell was an indigent woman with mental health issues who had been convicted multiple times for drug possession and prostitution. In 2008, offering oral sex to a police officer for $20 got her a 27-month felony sentence in maximum security at Perryville prison, just outside Phoenix.

Once inside, she got placed on suicide watch. But instead of keeping an eye on her, corrections officers placed her in a cage in the blazing sun for nearly four hours on a 107 degree day.

Powell died, and sixteen corrections employees were eventually fired or disciplined. A report from the Arizona Department of Corrections recommended negligent homicide charges against at least seven of the officers, but the district attorney declined to pursue charges.

“If one person faced what Marcia Powell faced, then many, many other people who are incarcerated in Arizona are also at risk,” says Saunders, who points out that Powell, like many women on the fringes of society, would not have qualified for the help offered at Project ROSE.

“Prison is not a safe place for women. Your health will get worse while youre in prison. You are not kept safe. Violence can be perpetuated against you. You can lose your life. Marcia Powell was sentenced to 27 months in Perryville Prison for prostitution. But really it was a death sentence.”

Lawyer consultations prohibited

Another issue that has legal advocates concerned: Those arrested and taken to Project ROSE are not allowed to consult with a lawyer. Monica Jones, a former sex worker who was arrested and brought to Project ROSE, told officers she was innocent and asked to see a lawyer. She says she was told the only lawyer she could talk to was the prosecutor.

I asked John Tutelman, charging bureau chief with the Phoenix prosecutor’s office, why defense attorneys were not allowed.

“We have considered that,” he told me. “But this is not a legal process. You are entitled to an attorney to defend you when it’s a legal process.” Tutelman added: “The women are not under arrest. They go in and they talk to police officers in the police room here. And they give them a lot of information. And it’s not because they are under arrest or they are in any way compelled to do it at that juncture, just like we’re not compelling them as prosecutors.”

Tutelman’s stance that the women are not under arrest did not seem to match the reality I saw around me of women in handcuffs. I asked him about what happens when police put these women in a car and tell them they are coming to Project ROSE. If the woman asks if she is under arrest, what will police officers say? “They are under arrest,” admitted Tutelman.

“But when a police officer arrests someone, they don’t have to book them into jail. And basically, that’s what they’re doing.” Advocates I spoke with questioned if those arrested and denied attorney are really not “compelled” to speak with officers and prosecutors.

Traumatic police force

Project ROSE involves 100 officers or more engaging in two days of mass arrests. For founders, the large amount of officers involved is part of the appeal. But advocates say this is part of the problem. A recent editorial in a social work journal questioned the ethics of Project ROSE because of this collaboration.

“Social workers should be deeply troubled by social work interventions that target individuals for arrest as a means of providing services,” write Stéphanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli. “We believe that targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry.”

“Project Rose seems to be blurring the lines between linking people to social services and arresting them,” agrees Saunders. “And as a harm reductionist, that is worrisome to me. When we link people to services, they should be given freely. No one should be forced to engage in the program. Theres a justification to say even if we help only one person, or 10 people, the rights violations of all the other people are worth it. And I would say that thats a false dichotomy.”

Activists from Sex Workers Outreach Project of PHOENIX have protested against Project ROSE, and done public outreach in the days leading up to the raids, offering supplies for both safe sex and drug use. The group also warned people about the raids.

“By viewing all sex workers as victims, and then going out and revictimizing them through using police force, which is violent and traumatic, it just seems very counterintuitive,” says Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman, a volunteer with the organization. “The way theyre going about it completely lacks a nuanced analysis of these womens lives. For example, if I was working and taken off the street and told I couldnt work, then I wouldnt be able to afford basics or I wouldnt be able to go to school, or take care of my children, or have child care.”

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Social Work and co-founder of the program, strongly defends Project ROSE. She says that almost all of the people she sees in this work are victims in need of rescue.

“Once youve prostituted, you can never not have prostituted. You are always identified, even by yourself that way,” she says. “Having that many body parts in your body parts, having that many body fluids near you and doing things that are freaky and weird really messes up your ideas of what a relationship looks like, and intimacy.”

Enforcing morals

Monica Jones, who has been through the programme and is also a member of SWOP, finds this attitude overly judgemental.

“Theyre forcing their morals on you,” she says. “It doesnt help the women that are single mothers and trying to make money. It doesnt help a runaway teen. It doesnt help a person out there making money for themself.”

When Jones went through the prostitution diversion programme offered at Project ROSE, she says she was kicked out because of her views. SWOP activists believe that in her most recent arrest Jones was targeted because she is a transgender woman. The fact that she was arrested just hours after she was protesting Project ROSE has also drawn suspicion about the motivations behind her arrest.

Jones is being charged with “manifesting” prostitution. Phoenix city law allows officers to arrest people they suspect of prostitution, even if they don’t offer sex for money. Evidence can include what they are wearing, what neighborhood they are in, and even asking someone if they are a police officer or attempting to “engage passerby in conversation.”

The push to treat sex workers as victims

Nationally, there has been a shift towards seeing women involved in the sex trade as victims, rather than criminals. Public relations campaigns by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, and increased federal funding that encourages law enforcement to go after “sex traffickers” has fueled the push for reforms.

But activists say the result has been to treat all women in the trade as victims. Organistions like Sex Workers Outreach Project, which are mostly made up of current and former sex workers, say that the victimisation framework ignores the experiences of women who make the choice to sell sex and robs them of their free agency.

A study of sex workers by Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago found that violence and harassment by police was the biggest danger reported by those in the business. About 32% of respondents reported violence or harassment from police, including sexual assault, while only 4% reported violence from pimps.

They concluded that the biggest threat was not the work itself, but the atmosphere created by making it illegal.

This data makes clear why advocates are distrustful of programs like Project ROSE that rely on police. In two days at Project ROSE, I watched dozens of handcuffed women led in by police. It seemed like a traumatic experience.

“This is hostile. Im the one being kidnapped,” said one woman I observed during her intake into Project ROSE.

Victims of trafficking

Lieutenant Gallagher, an 18-year veteran of the Phoenix police department sees every sex worker as a victim of trafficking.

“What we have found through our investigations, through interviews and our contacts with the victims of this problem is that everybodys trafficked by something,” he says. “Most often theyre trafficked by a pimp. Other times theyre trafficked by an economic need or, you know, a need for socialisation, or theyve got a kid that they have to feed.”

While seeing the women as victims, Gallagher also believes that arrest is an important tool. “You have to break down these barriers that traffickers put on these women, to get them to give up their normal. Theyve come to normalise the abnormal.”

Not surprisingly, Saunders disagrees. “Trafficking in humans is not the same as sex work,” she says.

“Trafficking is an egregious human rights violation that can occur in any sector. It can occur in agriculture, it can occur in domestic work, it can occur in restaurants. I think that Project Rose miscommunicates this by saying that arresting people who are engaged in sex work on any level is an initiative against human trafficking. No, arresting people engaging in sex work is arresting people engaged in sex work.”

Another woman I met after her arrest, Cacee (she asked me not to reveal her real name), was arrested three times this year. In the spring, she completed the diversion programme offered through Project ROSE, so she is not eligible again. This means this arrest will likely bring her jail time. She thought the diversion program was a positive experience, but the allure of the money makes sex work hard for her to leave.

“If someone offers you 200 bucks and says ‘lets go have some sex,’ youre just like, oh wow. You know what you can do in 10, 15 minutes to bust a nut with somebody, you can get 200 bucks. Its like wow, Ive been doing it all my life for free. Its so easy to make somebody come. Somebody can look at your breasts and just come, and youll get 200 bucks.”

Cacee has tried other jobs, and was good at them. “I was the assistant manager to Dennys for all the servers, and I was the trainer for all the servers,” she says. “I even worked at McDonalds. I did CNA work, Ive been in pretty much every field that you can be in. But as a single mother, I just never wanted to struggle, ever.”

But Cacee found sex work offered stability she couldn’t find in other work. “When I was going through the Project Rose, I was getting kicked out, evicted from a lot of places,” Cacee explained. “I didnt have money for rent because I was doing so much to, you know, trying to be good and have a job and stay out.”

The experience of going through Project ROSE made Cacee want to start her own programme, one that would offer free housing to women that needed support, and be less judgmental than shelters and other services that exist now.

“Any place like that should be open to anyone,” she said. “You accept all people for who they are, no matter what theyve done, they should all be able to have a home.”