New York State Bill S1379/A2736 would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution. Currently, police and courts 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 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 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.
Join us for a rally and lobby day in Albany April 23, 2013 to advocate for an end to this practice!
See our Memos of Support for this legislation.
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, 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, 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.
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