Council member David Grosso I-At-Large called on police to suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers. Photo courtesy of the Office of David Grosso. Attorney for D. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers involved in commercial sex between consenting adults.
His call for a temporary suspension of arrests and prosecution of sex workers comes six months after he introduced legislation calling for the city to decriminalize prostitution for consenting adults. Following release of his statement on Monday, Grosso told the Blade that the latest developments resulting in the forced shutdown of sites such as Back reinforce the need for his decriminalization bill.
The FBI, which seized the Back website operations last week, said it did so as part of an ongoing investigation into sex trafficking of minors that authorities have said placed on the Back site to facilitate sex trafficking.
Back officials have said they cooperated with authorities to prevent traffickers from using the site. Sex worker advocacy groups have said the overwhelming majority of sex workers advertising on the site involved interactions between consenting adults. Congress last month passed an anti-sex trafficking bill that would subject websites to criminal prosecution and civil litigation if they accept advertising, knowingly or unknowingly, linked to both coerced sex-trafficking as well as sex work engaged in by consenting adults.
Fears by sex worker advocates that more websites used by sex workers would be shut down were heightened on Monday when news surfaced that seven top Back officials were indicted by a grand jury in Phoenix, Ariz.
In response to a request from the Washington Blade, D. The data show that out of a total of 2, prostitution related arrests during that four-and-a-half-year period, just seven involved sex trafficking involving minors. The data released show this breakdown by year for prostitution related arrests in D. Grosso, who had not seen these figures when he released his statement calling for a suspension in prostitution arrests involving consenting adults, told the Blade he was not aware of a ificant of sex trafficking cases in D.
He said his concern was the shutdown of websites that had in the past enabled adult sex workers to ply their trade safely and who had nothing to do with sex trafficking would now be subjected to danger. Attorney, along with front-line officers and commanders, should meet with individuals trading sex with the goal of understanding the risks they face and what steps are necessary to build trust in order to prevent and respond to violence and coercion.
William Miller, a spokesperson for the U. Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition. Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.
In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.
If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass.
Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.
We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all.
We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed. Jeff Merkley D-Ore. Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a party split.
Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins R-Mainewho declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having ed onto the legislation in the Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v.
City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections. For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.
But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outed calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.
No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law. Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.
Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the election to the Equality Act into law within his first days in office. Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority.
One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself. To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, ing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U. A bill approved unanimously last December by the D. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.
Capitol following the Jan. According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D. Between the time the bill was ed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb.
Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.
If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D. A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D. The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.
Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution. LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime.
Salmi noted that while the Craigslist sex busts Washington DC crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.
The provision gives the D. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.
Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at Georgia Ave.
Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D. Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial.
In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.
An arrest affidavit filed by D. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived. Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.
Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between and in cases unrelated to the and cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. In the first of the three cases, filed in JulyMalki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt. Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case.
But the court records show that on Sept. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.
The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D. At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.
The affidavit says he was initially charged by D. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U. The records show that on Jan. The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.
In the third case prior to the and cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon — knife, possession of a prohibited weapon — knife, and unlawful entry.
The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so.
But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.
The records show that on Sept.
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