In New York, possessing condoms can be used as evidence against people arrested on suspicion of selling sex. The Sex Workers Project and the PROS Network released a long and interesting study yesterday about the impact this has had on sex workers, and of course, none of it is good. The practice allows cops to target certain sex worker populations for prosecution, for example transwomen and/or women of color, and discourages sex workers from carrying and using condoms, which is terrible in terms of HIV/AIDS prevention.
It’s harmful, and New York State Bill A1008/S323 is being introduced to outlaw it. (Here, sign this petition in support of the bill.) This all via Melissa Gira Grant’s wonderful new blog, Post Whore America, which everybody should be reading. She writes:
Condoms-as-evidence is NYPD’s own sexed-up form of stop-and-frisk. As a result, close to half of the sex workers surveyed for this report say they have had condoms taken from them by cops, and close to half have stopped carrying condoms altogether, for fear of getting charged for the crime of protecting their own health.
Sex work shouldn’t be illegal in the first place, but carrying around condoms DEFINITELY shouldn’t be, and isn’t, except when it is.