New York lawmakers seek to create bill that would bar condoms as proof of prostitution

By Erica Albanese,

New York lawmakers are proposing a bill that would obstruct police from confiscating condoms and using them as evidence against sex workers.

According to CBS New York, New York would be the first state to have this law if the bill is passed.

Supporters say that confiscating condoms takes away from years of public health goals and that a law would protect people from being targeted for possessing condoms.

“There may be no actual evidence, and the condom is their only way to trying to prove it," said former male escort Hawk Kinkaid, according to The Associated Press. "The fear that this will be used against you — it prevents people from being able to protect themselves.”

A study from 2010 by the New York City Department of Health shows that more than half of the sex workers in New York City that were surveyed had condoms confiscated by police.

“Sex workers are more likely victims than they are criminals, and condom evidence was rarely of any value to a prosecution," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "If you need that condom so badly in the case against a trafficker, then you don't have a good case.”

Nassau County, Brooklyn, and San Francisco, Calif. announced last year that condoms would no longer be used as evidence in prostitution cases.

The New York Police Department, having been long opposed to such a bill, is currently reviewing their policy.



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