Health

NYC Prostitutes Have Been Persuaded To Stop Using Protection

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safe_imageAccording to Techsonia, New York City is officially the first state to “disqualify the possession of condoms as evidence against  a suspected sex worker.” The operating practice, was to arrest suspected sex workers for “condom possession.” Often, “possession” could lead to having charges pressed against sex workers in court. New York City was formally and widely known for implementing this practice. People in question would be charged and identified as  “loitering for the purposes of prostitution.”

In 2010, a study was released that showed “a significant half of sex workers in New York City [did] not carry condoms in fear of getting caught by the police, arrested.” Many people and organizations have waged campaigns, written letters and conducted studies to end these practices. One such example is the, End the Use of Condoms as Evidence campaign. The campaign worked to have legislation passed to address the issue.

Their work focused on passing a bill which would no longer use condoms as evidence of sex work. Their work highlighted the ways that “suspicion” of being identified as a sex worker was an unfair practice. The campaign also brought in the public health component as a key issue to be considered in the debate. Especially when talking about STD prevention.

An opinion piece was written in the New York Times called, “Distributing, then Confiscating, Condoms.” The article, written by Megan McLemore, spoke about the stories of sex workers who had to contend with the harsh policy of condom possession as evidence. McLemore pointedly spoke of this contradiction within policy and enforcement, ”While public health departments spend millions of dollars promoting and distributing condoms, police departments are harassing sex workers for carrying them and using them as evidence to support arrests.”

Other states have now followed New York City’s example, such as San Francisco, Brooklyn and Nassau County. All no longer use the carrying of condoms as reasons to charge people who are suspected of sex work.

Itoro Udofia is a first generation Nigerian writer, educator and singer/songwriter. You can find her work and follow her at http://www.itoroudofia.com/