Women With A Vision Win Rights for Women of Color Convicted of “Crimes Against Nature” in Lousiana

June 22, 2011

Deon Haywood, WWAV's Executive Director, with Bill Quigley of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Davida Finger of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic of Loyola University New Orleans College of LawWomen With a Vision, a Third Wave grant partner, have been working in Louisiana to end the extreme penalties faced by women of color who are targeted for arrest under a 200 year old anti-prostitution statute, Solicitation of a Crime Against Nature (SCAN).

Louisiana’s SCAN statute increases existing penalties on soliciting oral or anal sex in exchange for money, and classifies them as a serious sex crime. As a result, a SCAN conviction forces women to register as sex offenders, putting those women at risk for the loss of their jobs, children, and homes, as well as other forms of harassment and violence. Additionally, the people most likely to be charged under the SCAN statute are women engaged in survival sex and street economies — low income women, women of color, and transgender women.

As a result, seventy-five percent of the people registered as sex offenders for solicitation of a crime against nature (SCAN) conviction are women, and 80 percent of them are African American.

This June, after two years of education and community mobilizing led by Women With a Vision, the Louisiana Senate voted unanimously to remove Solicitation of a Crime Against Nature (SCAN) from the sex offender registry. The bill also passed the House, with just three dissenting votes.

Women With a Vision’s next step?

Next stop is the governor’s office! We will be leaning on all of our local and national allies to ensure that Governor Jindal follows the House and Senate’s lead in signing this important step towards healing and justice for the women of Louisiana into law… For now, please help us spread the word. This is an incredible day for the women of Louisiana and all who are joined in our collective struggles for reproductive and transformative justice!

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