Juhu Thukral is a leading expert on the rights of low-income and immigrant women in the areas of sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, economic opportunity, and criminal justice. She is a founder of numerous ventures supporting women and LGBT people, and has been recognized by Women's eNews as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and by the National Council for Research on Women as a Trailblazer. Juhu was also selected to give the inaugural talk for the Anita Hill Lecture Series. She is Director of Law and Advocacy at The Opportunity Agenda, and is a founding Steering Committee member of the NY Anti-Trafficking Network. Juhu was the founder and Director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, where she continues to act as a Senior Advisor. In 2010, she co-founded the NYC Women’s Salon to promote networking and mentorship among progressive women.
This summer, the effort to pass the Women’s Equality Act in New York and the Supreme Court’s decision involving the anti-prostitution pledge that applied to global funding to fight HIV and AIDS had implications for sex workers’ rights.
Today, more than 20 years after Hill first came on the national stage, we better understand that gender justice is not only about women’s rights in opposition to men and their privilege—it encompasses the full spectrum of gender and sexuality.
We continue to push President Barack Obama to recognize trafficking for what it is and not get mixed up in the politics of advocates who are not as focused on addressing the climate of fear and coercion endured by so many workers around the world.
Vacating convictions laws are a step in the right direction for survivors of trafficking. Ultimately, however, creating fair working conditions and ending abuses in low-wage industries will ultimately do far more to end trafficking in persons and protect the human rights of workers in vulnerable situations.
Laws like the so-called “anti-prostitution pledge” in US policy may sound benign or acceptable but actually have negative repercussions for marginalizing groups. The U.S. government has sent mixed signals about how it enforces the pledge, but leaving it to political winds in a time of desperate need and economic crisis is dangerous.
An analysis of U.S. public opinion research on core reproductive justice values and issues reveals conflicting attitudes on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and the rights of LGBTQ persons.