July 19, 2012


This report was written by Megan McLemore, senior researcher for the Health and Human Rights Division. The research was conducted by a team from the Health and Human Rights Division that included advocacy director Rebecca Schleifer, research consultant Katherine Todrys, associate Alex Gertner, and intern Margaret Wurth. The report was reviewed at Human Rights Watch by Joseph Amon, director of the Health and Human Rights Division, Rebecca Schleifer, advocacy director for the Health and Human Rights Division, Katherine Todrys, research consultant, Antonio Ginatta, advocacy director for the US Program, Graeme Reed, director of the LGBT Program, Meghan Rhoad, researcher for the Women’s Rights Division, Dinah Pokempner, general counsel, and Babatunde Olugboji, deputy program director in the Program Office. Research assistance was provided by Aretha Chakraborti, Theresa Cheng, and Claire Gunner, interns in the Health and Human Rights Division. Production assistance was provided by Margaret Wurth, associate, Grace Choi, publications director, Kathy Mills, publications specialist, Ivy Shen, multimedia assistant, and Fitzroy Hepkins, administrative manager.

Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of individuals and organizations in each of the four cities addressed in this report.

In New York City Human Rights Watch would like to thank Sienna Baskin at the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project, Rachel Thomas and Sara Hahn at the Open Society Foundation Sexual Health and Rights Project, Josh Saunders at Brooklyn Defender Services, Kate Mogulescu at the Legal Aid Society of New York, Andrea Ritchie at Streetwise and Safe, Socheatta Meng and Daniel Mullkoff at the NYCLU, Darius Charney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Mito Miller, Lorena Borjas, Juan David Gastolomendo, the Latino Commission on AIDS, Lambda Legal, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, FROST'D, CitiWide Harm Reduction, the LGBT Center, Queens Pride House, the Positive Health Project, additional members of the PROS Network, and many others whose invaluable assistance supported this project.

In Los Angeles we gratefully acknowledge Bamby Salcedo at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Victor Martínez, Roberto Melendez, Brenda del Rio Gonzalez, and Sandra Esqueda at Bienestar, Shirin Buckman and Karina Samala at the Transgender Working Group of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, Shayla Myers at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Alessandra Moura at the Los Angeles Police Department, Laurie Aronoff, Joseph Weiner, the Transgender Service Provider Network (TSPN), and the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Los Angeles (SWOP-LA).

In San Francisco we gratefully acknowledge the staff of the St. James Infirmary, Carol Stuart, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, the staff at Trans:Thrive, and Nadia Babella and Cecelia Chung at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

In Washington, DC we gratefully acknowledge the staff of Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Darby Hickey, and Ruby Corado.

Most of all, Human Rights Watch thanks the courageous sex workers and transgender persons who shared their experiences for this report.