Target: New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Goal: Ban the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, sex trafficking, or promotion of prostitution in New York
Despite the well-established fact that condoms lessen the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as provide a valuable means of birth control, police departments across the country routinely use condoms as evidence that someone is engaging in prostitution. Take action against this nonsensical and discriminatory practice by supporting a New York Assembly bill that would ban such abuses in the state.
Up until recently, the NYPD confiscated condoms from persons they suspected of engaging in prostitution and used them as evidence of criminal activity, even if the accused person was never caught in the act. These arrests disproportionally affected queer and trans women of color who are routinely targeted and profiled by the police. For these vulnerable populations, even carrying a condom could lead to their arrest.
Although the NYPD announced earlier this year that they would no longer seize condoms as evidence of prostitution to be used in criminal cases, they did not end the practice of using condoms as evidence of sex trafficking or promotion of prostitution. According to civil rights groups who work with sex workers, this giant loophole allows police to arrest people they suspect of prostitution under the pretense of investigating pimps and sex traffickers. This could in turn encourage traffickers and pimps to punish sex workers who use condoms out of fear that they could be used as evidence against them.
While the NYPD’s decision is a step in the right direction, this outrageous practice discourages sex workers from using condoms for fear of retribution from their pimps and traffickers, leaving them vulnerable to contracting HIV or STIs. Encourage New York Assembly Speaker Silver to put the bill to ban all condom evidence in prostitution-related charges to a vote, and protect the health and wellbeing of some of New York’s most vulnerable citizens.
Dear Speaker Silver,
The NYPD recently announced that they would end the practice of using condoms as evidence of prostitution in most cases. Unfortunately, this policy change does not extend to condom evidence used in sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution arrests. I urge you to put the comprehensive bill that would end these discriminatory and harmful practices to a vote in the New York Assembly.
Regardless of your opinions on the legality of prostitution, all people deserve to have the freedom to practice safer sex. The current practices of the NYPD discourage sex workers, especially LGBTQ people of color who are disproportionally targeted by the police, from using condoms for fear of retribution from their pimps or traffickers, against whom their condoms could be used as evidence.
Please prohibit the use of all condom evidence in prostitution-related charges by putting the proposed bill to an immediate vote in the New York Assembly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Luctheo via pixabay