Attacking Sex Workers and All Women

Apparently, in New York police and prosecutors can use condoms as evidence in prostitution trials.

[This refers to] a situation in New York that permits the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, resulting in their collection and confiscation from women who are detained by the police.

It doesn’t matter that the state runs programs to prevent the spread of AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases.

This practice is an outright slap in the face to the decades of hard work that public health advocates have undertaken to increase safe sex, decrease HIV and create a positive shift in the cultural acceptance of condom use. This policy discourages a stigmatized and marginalized group of sexually active people from carrying the tools they need to be healthy and safe. And this occurs despite the fact that the New York City itself runs a free condom distribution program because “Using a condom every time you have anal, oral or vaginal sex protects you and your partners from getting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases … and prevents unplanned pregnancies.”

Naked they came and the state giveth and the state taketh away.  The law has not only targeted sex workers but others as well.

Many of the arrests were not of even sex workers, but, rather, incidents of profiling transgender individuals as sex workers — their personal condoms were confiscated and used as “evidence” of prostitution.

Saner heads may prevail, as there is a bill before the state Senate to change the law.

New York State Bill A1008/S323, cosponsored by more than a dozen state senators, would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution in specified criminal or civil proceedings. According to the summary of the bill, it “provides that possession of a condom may not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing or proceeding as evidence of prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, promoting prostitution, permitting prostitution, maintaining a premises for prostitution, lewdness or assignation, or maintaining a bawdy house.”

Does this mean every teen-age guy with a ring-worn wallet should be on the lookout for the police? Or every women who carries some in her purse is a potential criminal? I’m not from New York, but if you are, you need to support this bill.


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