What is NY State Bill S1379/A2736?

New York State Bill S1379/A2736 would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution. Currently, police and prosecutors can use the fact that a person has or is carrying condoms to prove that they are engaging in prostitution-related offenses.People who are or are profiled as involved in the sex trades report that they are more likely to be arrested if they carry condoms. Police officers regularly confiscate condoms from people they allege are engaged in prostitution to justify arrests or to use as evidence against them at trial. District Attorneys routinely refer to the number of condoms a person had on them in criminal court complaints accusing them of engaging in prostitution-related offenses such as “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” (NYPL 240.37)

As a result people are hesitant to carry condoms to protect themselves and others, for fear that it will lead to arrest or be held against them in court. Sound public health policy would encourage condom use by eliminating the fear that carrying a condom will be used against you or anyone else by police or in a court of law.

Follow this link to read the text of New York State Bill S1379/A2736 and to stay updated on the Bill’s actions in the State Legislature.

See our Memos of Support for this legislation.

Check out another recent New York Times editorial in support of this legislation. For more press coverage, click here.

We made history!!!! NO Condoms as Evidence Bill passed the Assembly TODAY, June 21!  Onward to the Senate! Read a statement by the No Condoms As Evidence Coalition here.

Check out the video from the New York City Council Committee on Civil Rights THIS TUESDAY, JUNE 18 on Res. 0710-2011 in support of the  state No Condoms As Evidence legislation: http://on.nyc.gov/19OgtOn 

  • call on your Council Member to become a bill sponsor support state legislation that would to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers, including victims of trafficking, by banning the use of condoms as evidence of any prostitution-related offense across New York State;
  • call on the NYPD to stop taking condoms out of the hands of New Yorkers and using them to justify arrests!

President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS passes resolution urging an end to the use of condoms as a basis of criminal prosecution or sentence enhancement.

Two new reports document the harms caused by the use of condoms as evidence in multiple cities and countries.

On Thursday, July 19th, 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH released a report entitled “Sex Workers at Risk: Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities,” about the harms caused by this practice in 4 major U.S. cities. The report reveals that efforts to take condoms in multiple U.S. cities negatively impact the health of sex workers and transgender women, and furthermore undermine public health campaigns for HIV prevention. Read more about the HRW report here.

On Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS released a report entitled “Criminalizing Condoms,” about the use of condoms as a means to target sex workers in six different countries. This report reveals that the “treatment of condoms as contraband forces sex workers to make a choice between safeguarding their health and staying safe from police harassment or arrest” by documenting law enforcement practices and the resulting harms for sex workers in Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, the United States and Zimbabwe. Read more about the OSF report here.

For more recent news about this campaign and related issues, click here.


 

Use the menu above to learn more about the campaign to pass this bill and to find out what you can do to get involved.

Recent Posts

Access to Condoms Coalition Response to NYPD Announcement

A Step in the Right Direction, but Not Far Enough

The policy announced by Commissioner Bratton today barring confiscation of condoms as arrest evidence in prostitution, prostitution in a school zone, and loitering for the purposes of prostitution cases represents a welcome and important step in the direction of protecting the public health and reproductive rights of New Yorkers. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough, and creates a loophole big enough to drive a truck through:  police can still continue to use the possession of condoms to justify an arrest, confiscate condoms from sex workers and survivors as “investigatory evidence” where promoting or trafficking is suspected, and confiscate condoms as evidence in promoting and trafficking cases. 

 

As long as possession or presence of condoms on the premises of a business can be used as evidence of intent to engage in any prostitution-related offense, including over thirteen more serious New York Penal Law offenses and civil proceedings not covered by this policy, we are concerned that cops will continue to take them out of the hands of people who are the most vulnerable to exploitation – youth and trafficking victims. We are also concerned that the people who are exploiting them will deny access to condoms in the hopes of avoiding prosecution, and that businesses and individuals will be discouraged from carrying and distributing them. Also, we are concerned that under this policy, police can still use the fact that a sex worker has condoms in their possession as a basis for arrest for prostitution, even if they don’t physically voucher them as evidence. This continues to send a message that it is unsafe to carry condoms.

 

We hope that the NYPD will continue to move in the direction of a comprehensive ban on the use of condoms as evidence of all prostitution-related offenses, and protect the rights of all New Yorkers, including victims of trafficking and young people in the sex trades, to protect themselves and the health and safety of their communities.

 

We will be monitoring implementation of this policy closely, and looking forward to working with the NYPD to expand the policy.

  1. No Condoms As Evidence Bill Passes Assembly, Making History! Leave a reply
  2. No Condoms As Evidence Bill Poised for Vote in NYS Assembly Leave a reply
  3. No Condoms As Evidence Bill Passes New York State Assembly Codes Committee – Push for a Floor Vote! Leave a reply
  4. New York City Council Hears Resolution in Support of No Condoms As Evidence Bills! Leave a reply
  5. City Council Calls Hearing on Resolution in Support of State Legislation! Leave a reply
  6. Rally and Press Conference June 6 2013 on steps of New York City Hall 1 Reply