Molly Crabapple sez, "I wrote this piece about a program in Phoenix called Project ROSE
arrests sex workers in massive raids and brings them to a church,
where they are held extra-judicially and offered alternative sentences
without lawyers, judges, or due process."
Monica is a graduate of DIGNITY Diversion. Forced into this program by another prostitution arrest, Monica sat in a classroom from 8 AM to 4 PM, without food, while vice cops described girls overdosing on heroin. Jail was held over the heads of attendees until they finished the program, though many were going broke from their loss of sex-work income. Monica described the class as having the religious overtones of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. In keeping with the program's Catholicism, no condoms were provided. Neither was child care.
"I wasn't ashamed about being a sex worker. I kept bringing this up during the diversion program," Monica told me. "Girls would ask me why I didn't feel this way. Well, 'cause I don't. I have the right to my own body."
Catholic Charities requested that Monica leave early, fearing her influence on others.
Monica's trial is in March. The prisons she may be sentenced to are brutal. Arizona is the home of the notorious Tent City, an outdoor complex of bunks and razor wire, where prisoners' shoes melt from the relentless heat.