What’s CUSP been up to?


On December 17, 2013, CUSP held a press conference and candlelight vigil for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.  We remembered Hansen’s victims and expressed our concern that, at that time, Alaska’s sex trafficking laws had only been used against people who were themselves alleged prostitutes charged with prostitution of themselves in the very same cases that they were charged with sex trafficking.  All alleged sex trafficking victims had been arrested and convicted of prostitution.

Our little gathering made a big difference!  Since that time the police seem not to have arrested alleged victims of sex trafficking (although the Department of Law has declined our public records requests about this, so they could be arresting victims we don’t know about).  The state troopers have adapted the language of their dispatches about sex trafficking to sort of match and distort our language.  Senator Berta Gardner introduced Senate Bill 170, which would have offered a defense against a charge of prostitution if, after being arrested and having their name already on courtview and in the paper forever, a victim could prove to a jury that they had been induced through force into prostitution by a person that they named to police.  Besides placing an incredible burden on the victim, this defense would not have been accessible to the majority of victims of sex trafficking.  Several members of CUSP and our allies called into legislative hearings and in the end the bill wasn’t passed!

In April Terra went to the Freedom Network’s annual trafficking conference and spoke about providing services to victims of trafficking into commercial sex work.  It went way better than I’d hoped, and hopefully CUSP members will be doing more of this kind of thing.

Currently CUSP is working on building alliances with other non-profits and planning for this year’s International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.