Metro Weekly

Sex Worker Survey

DC Survey turns up victims of violations by police

Local transgenders, Latinos, youths and sex workers have all been victims of several human-rights violations at the hands of police, claims a recent study conducted by the Alliance for a Safe and Diverse D.C. The alliance is a coalition of individuals and organizations, including Different Avenues, a group advocating for homeless youth and which coordinated the study.

”Police are committing some pretty serious human-rights violations in the name of policing prostitution in the city,” says Darby Hickey, co-director of Different Avenues.

”We also found that police were not responding to people appropriately when they needed help from the police because they profiled them as sex workers, or because they were sex workers. We found that an overwhelming majority of folks that we interviewed and surveyed in the city want to see a change, a very serious change, in how the District approaches issues of commercial sex.”

The study, says Hickey, was conducted with questionnaires, in-depth interviews and community forums to gather information. The findings were released May 1 at The Flemming Center in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Acting Lt. Brett Parson, commander of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department’s community liaison units attended. He says he can’t yet comment on the report, but adds that he hand-delivered it to Police Chief Cathy Lanier.