Target: Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver
Goal: Stop prosecuting sex-workers based on possession of condoms.
It is currently legal for the police of New York City to confiscate condoms from sex workers and use them as evidence when trying them. A law introduced before the State Assembly aims to change this in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV in New York. It must be made clear to the State assembly that this law would be a huge step in protecting the health of prostitutes and their clients, as well as the general public, and should be put into action as quickly as possible.
A huge number of prostitutes in states where such draconian anti-prostitution measures are in place admit to refusing to carry condoms for fear of being arrested. These policies thus encourage prostitutes to engage in unprotected sex with clients. In addition, unscrupulous and homophobic NYPD officers have been known to use the ability to prosecute those carrying condoms as an excuse to harass members of the New York LGBT community. Fortunately these cases rarely make it to court; however, these practices also encourage many New Yorkers to engage in unsafe sexual practices that could result in the transmission of disease.
The current law is particularly dangerous for human trafficking victims. Traffickers, being aware of the law, often prevent their victims from carrying condoms, posing tremendous risk to them. For this reason many leading anti-trafficking advocates have endorsed the bill currently before the State Assembly. They often point to San Francisco, where it is illegal for police to use condoms as evidence when prosecuting sex crimes cases, a measure which has significantly reduced the number of cases of HIV in the city.
Over 100,000 people with HIV/AIDS live in New York City. It is the responsibility of the State assembly to pass this measure in order to prevent that number from growing any larger.
Dear Speaker Sheldon Silver,
There are currently over 100,000 New Yorkers living with HIV or AIDS, due in no small part to the current policy of allowing police and prosecutors to use the presence of condoms on sex workers as evidence of prostitution. Due to this law, many New York prostitutes refuse to carry condoms, and this often leads them to have unsafe sex with clients. In San Francisco, however, this measure has been repealed. Since then, the city has seen a significant decrease in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS in the city.
As the public servants of the people of New York, it is your responsibility to protect the health of the public by passing a similar measure that has been put forth before you. Discouraging prostitutes and human trafficking victims from using condoms is counterintuitive and dangerous to all New Yorkers and must be ended now.
[Your Name Here]
Image credit to Indi Samarajiva via Flickr Creative Commons