The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Inc. (ACLU-MO) requests proposals from individuals with research experience to strategically investigate the criminalization of sex work in Missouri and work with coalition members to draft a publicly accessible report. This position is funded by a three-month grant from ACLU’s Trans Justice Campaign.

Project Background:

The ACLU of Missouri is committed to ensuring civil liberties protections for all Missourians. Through the Trans Justice Program and the #MODecrim Coalition, this research will serve as the foundation for the effort to decriminalize sex work in multiple areas of the state. Sex work decriminalization intersects with the most urgent political struggles impacting our region: from ending [mass] incarceration, to battling racial profiling, to stopping transphobic harassment and violence. Only heightened by the Coronavirus, the demand for a social safety net and robust and protections for all workers is urgent. The effort to decriminalize sex work must be fought alongside and on behalf of Missouri’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities, in particular Black women, women of color, undocumented people, and finally  especially  trans women who often rely on sex work when discriminated against in other industries. We will specifically seek to inform elections for prosecutors in Missouri to stop the prosecution of sex work and ancillary charges.

Scope of Work:

A successful proposal for our data researcher will lay out a research plan and how data will be used to inform their work. Proposals should also detail past work both in research and in producing advocacy recommendations. Informed by their findings, the researcher will also play a key role in the development of the report’s recommendations. The researcher is a contract position and will be funded for 12 weeks.

Deliverables include, but are not limited to:

  • Research the impact of prosecution patterns on the criminalization of sex work in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, and Jackson County (Kansas City)
  •  Produce data surrounding the criminalization of sex work in St. Louis City and Jackson County by July 1,2020.
  • Define and present data on the differences between sex trafficking arrests and sex work arrests;
  • Research the municipal ordinances that criminalize sex work and other similar/underlying charges. Identify and assess the most common charges use to criminalize sex work.
  • Identify the drivers of sex work, through research of stakeholder best practices in the fields of local child welfare, education, law enforcement agencies, service providers to runaway and homeless youth; TLGBQI+ organizations; and other similar community supports that work to prevent youth homelessness and trans marginalization;
  • Analyze regional and local agencies to draw comparisons across the region regarding strategies for preventing homelessness in LGBTQ2S youth at risk of becoming homeless and participating in sex work;
  • Use data to train coalition, ACLU-MO staff, and allies as they work together to identify strategic opportunities for progress;
  • Draft a report that forms the basis of helping create a data foundation for the work of the coalition. Analysis should include assessments regarding the feasibility of sex work decriminalization in Missouri, comparisons to previous campaigns, and centering the stories of individuals directly involved in sex work today.

The data researcher will work with the ACLU-MO’s Policy and Advocacy Department, with Project oversight by the Trans Justice Organizer and Policy Director.

Qualifications**:

  • Minimum of two years experience in a paid or volunteer position as a data researcher.
  • Familiarity with trans, gender non-conforming, and gender-expansive people, and the legislation and ordinances that disproportionately impact them.
  • Experience in supporting campaign and coalition building.
  • Well-Developed communication skills, including the ability to write about data in a way that communicates complicated information clearly to the general public.
  • A developed understanding of sex work and/or the impact of employment discrimination on trans and gender non-conforming communities

**Individuals who have previously engaged in sex work, are trans/non-binary/LGBTQOIA+. or have personal experience in the criminal justice system are highly encouraged to apply.

Missouri-based and/ or Southern-based researchers  are highly encouraged to apply.

Project Timeline

End of May – Contract Begins

June – Research - In Progress

July – Report drafting

August – Report and Candidate Survey Published

September – Contract Complete

Note: The ACLU is an equal opportunity organization. We value a diverse team and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages proposals from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veterans status.

To Submit a Proposal:

Please send proposal, three references, and a resume to applications@aclu-mo.org.