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http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-03-06/news/nyc-s-condom-insanity/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arrested-carrying-condoms-new-york-article-1.1280431#ixzz2MmQWRI1j

http://www.vice.com/read/new-york-cops-will-arrest-you-for-carrying-condoms?utm_source=vicefbus

http://www.businessinsider.com/police-arrest-women-for-carrying-condoms-2013-3#ixzz2Mn2kXMtX

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Associated Press

NY advocates say condom evidence is unhealthy

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — Advocates for New York sex workers are coming to Albany to push for legislation that would ban condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, arguing the law-enforcement tactic is bad for public health.

The group plans to release a report Tuesday showing that fear of police confiscation and arrest has prompted some workers to carry fewer or no condoms and have sex without them, raising the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. They’ll be joined by lawmakers who support pending Senate and Assembly bills.

The 2010 and 2011 surveys of sex workers documented in the report were conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and by the PROS Network, a coalition of workers and advocates.

 

Associated Press (National story)

Sex Workers Project Wants Condoms Banned As Evidence In Prostitute Cases

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN 04/17/12 05:26 PM ET

ALBANY, N.Y. — Advocates for sex workers want New York to become the first state to ban police officers from confiscating condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, saying it has a chilling effect on disease protection.

To bolster their case, a group issued a report Tuesday showing that fear of police harassment and arrest has prompted some prostitutes to carry fewer or no condoms and have sex without them, despite massive government giveaways.

“We did find, which is a good thing, that sex workers generally carry condoms and use condoms,” said Sienna Baskin, an attorney with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan

But prostitutes also say police also confiscate condoms as a kind of harassment, she said. In surveys, several sex workers said city police took their condoms without arresting them.

Calls to the New York Police Department and Manhattan district attorney’s office were not immediately returned Tuesday.

State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, a Brooklyn Democrat and sponsor of the bill to ban condom evidence, said she has been told the bill get on the calendar for committee consideration in the Republican-controlled Senate. She said a similar measure has previously passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

“We are not endorsing prostitution,” Montgomery said. “It is simply related to the fact that over 100,000 people right now are infected with HIV and AIDS in New York City.”

Alexandra Waldhorn, spokeswoman for the city health department, said Tuesday that the city opposes the pending legislation.

Kate Hogan, a prosecutor who is the former president of the state district attorneys’ association, said the real goal of prostitution cases is “to get the pimps and the sex traffickers.” Giving up supporting evidence would be giving them “a lot of leeway we don’t want to give them,” she said.

In a bid to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, New York City health officials began giving out free condoms in 1971 and say they have given out 192 million since 2007. In a similar program, the state health department said it distributes more than 10 million annually.

The 2010 and 2011 surveys of sex workers were conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and by the PROS Network, a coalition of workers and advocates.

The network survey included 35 people who said they worked in the sex trade, with 15 saying police had taken or destroyed their condoms and only five of those saying they were arrested. Six said they had sex later that day or night, and half used a condom.

Of 63 people in the city survey, 36 said their condoms were taken and 26 said they were arrested.

In 2009 in New York City, there were 1,802 arrests for prostitution, a misdemeanor, and 927 arrests for loitering for the purposes of engaging in prostitution, a lesser charge, according to the report.

Human Rights Watch researchers Kathleen Todrys and Megan McLemore said preliminary results from their study of sex workers in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., raise similar concerns about groups with high rates of HIV infection – 10 to 14 percent – and high risk for transmission.

McLemore said San Francisco police began photographing condoms for evidence instead of confiscating them after city supervisors in 1996 passed a resolution directing police not to take condoms as evidence, part of that city’s effort to address the AIDS crisis. That still keeps pressure on businesses such as strip clubs and massage parlors to not take free condoms from outreach workers because they still can be used in prosecutions, she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/advocates-for-ny-sex-workers-want-condoms-banned-as-evidence-in-prostitution-cases/2012/04/17/gIQAJJcnOT_story.html

 

 

Politics on the Hudson

 

Groups Want Condoms Banned As Evidence Of Prostitution

Jon Campbell 4/17/12

 

Human rights groups and state lawmakers today called on the Legislature to pass a bill that would bar condoms from being used as evidence of prostitution, which they said discourages people from carrying them and results in unsafe sex.

The bill, called the No Condoms as Evidence Bill, is sponsored by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn. Supporters of the bill released a pair of surveys conducted by New York City agencies and obtained by the Freedom of Information Law, one of which found that 43 percent of sex workers interviewed in the city in 2011 had condoms confiscated by police.

According to the 2011 survey, 45.7 percent of sex workers who took part did not carry condoms for fear of police action.

“When it comes to condom possession and use, New York’s health and criminal procedure policies are at odds,” Montgomery said in a statement. “(…)The unfortunate reality is that some individuals and groups of people –and especially those who are typically profiled by the police as possible sex workers – are becoming increasingly afraid of carrying and thus consistently using condoms because they know the possession of even one condom can be used to justify arrest.”

The bill has support from various human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Streetwise and Safe, and the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center.

http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2012/04/17/groups-want-condoms-banned-as-evidence-of-prostitution/

 

Bloomberg News

Prostitutes Push for N.Y. Law Banning Condoms as Evidence

By Freeman Klopott - Apr 17, 2012 2:20 PM ET

Prostitutes are pushing New York lawmakers to make the state the first in the U.S. to ban police from using condoms as a reason to arrest them.

Condoms are considered probable cause by police when they make a prostitution arrest, according a report released today by the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York. As a result, prostitutes sometimes don’t carry prophylactics when working, raising the risk they’ll get and spread HIV/AIDS, said the report, which was co-written by the PROS Network, a coalition of sex workers, organizers and service providers.

Condoms are considered probable cause by police when they make a prostitution arrest, according a report released today by the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York. Photographer: Robert Caplin/Bloomberg

The groups gathered today in Albany, New York’s capital, to press lawmakers to pass a previously introduced bill that would ban the police practice. If it’s approved, New York would follow China, which stopped using condoms as evidence to jail prostitutes in 2007, the report said.

“We have heard from clients so often that they’re afraid to carry condoms because of police harassment that we know it’s having a public health impact,” Sienna Baskin, co-director of the Sex Workers Project, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “This would be New York taking a leadership role and addressing an issue other states haven’t yet addressed.”

Included in the report was a survey of 35 sex workers in New York City, where there were about 2,700 prostitution-related arrests in 2009, according to the report. Of the 35, 16 said there are times when they don’t carry condoms out of concern they’ll be used as evidence against them.

Prostitute’s Dilemma

“I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t,” a 22-year-old city prostitute told a researcher, the report said. “I don’t want to get any disease, but I do want to make money.”

The proposed bill is too broad, said Rhonnie Jaus, the chief of sex crimes and crimes against children division in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. It would affect prosecution of human trafficking crimes, she said.

“Sometimes we need to use the evidence of condoms to prove cases particularly involving promoting and trafficking,” Jaus said in a telephone interview today. “To create a law that completely restricts our use of this evidence would undermine our ability to prosecute these cases.”

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, the Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the measure, said she gave condoms to her now 25- year-old son when he was in high school and college.

More Access Needed

“We should be requiring that any person engaged in any kind of sexual activity should have access to condoms,” Montgomery said today at a press conference in Albany. “A condom should not be viewed as an indicator of criminal activity.”

More than 107,000 New York City residents are living with HIV/AIDS, and the rate of infection in the city is three times the national average, the report said. AIDS is the third leading cause of death for city residents ages 35 to 54.

“Confiscation of condoms is clearly counterproductive from a health perspective and disrespectful of the rights of sex workers to protect themselves from HIV,” the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS wrote this year in a report.

New York City has been giving out condoms since 1971, and in 2007 the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene began issuing its own brand. In 2009, the department distributed more than 40 million of the contraceptives, the Sex Workers Project report said.

“It’s a mixed message from the city,” said Julie Falchuk, program coordinator for FROST’D @ Harlem United, a member agency of the PROS Network that helped interview the sex workers for the survey. “It’s clear that public health is not being considered across all parties.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-17/prostitutes-push-for-new-york-law-banning-condoms-as-evidence.html

Albany Times Union

Bill: Don’t use condoms in prosecutions, persecutions

 

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm by Casey Seiler, Capitol bureau chief in CrimeHealth

Share 0 share E-mail

 

State Sens. Velmanette Montgomery and Ruth Hassell-Thompson joined advocates for sex workers and the LGBT community Tuesday to push for passage of a billthat would bar the possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution.

Montgomery, a Democrat, has pursued the legislation since 1999, watching it die in committee every two years (including in 2009 and 2010, when her party controlled the chamber … or tried to). She said that a wave of fresh support for the measure from a broad spectrum of organizations made her hopeful the bill would make its way out its current state of limbo in the Rules Committee.

“We are not endorsing prostitution,” she said, pointing out that public health research has identified the failure to use condoms as a preeminent factor in the transmission of HIV as well as an array of other STDs.

The press conference marked the release of a report from the PROS Network and the Sex Workers Project, which catalogs testimony and court transcripts describing incidents in which law enforcement officers have confiscated condoms from those they believe to be engaging in prostitution as a means of dissuading them from plying that trade. Most of the time, it merely prevents the prostitute from plying his or her trade in a safer fashion.

Hassell-Thompson compared the situation to a construction site where workers wear hardhats or goggles as a matter or course. “I didn’t see condoms as being anything different in terms of how do you protect yourself in the workplace,” she said. “The language may sound as though I condone the behavior — far from it. But what it does say is that while I recognize the fact that this is your lifestyle, your behavior, my job is to make sure you reduce your risk as you do what you do.”

She said that while others might see evidence of a crime, the bill defines condoms as “a work tool to prevent disease transmission.”

Others said the issue affects those not engaged in prostitution as well. Chris Bilal of the group Streetwise & Safe discussed the phenomenon of members of the LGBTQQ community (the last two stand for “queer and questioning”) who fear being hassled by police.

“In 2012, New York is the epicenter of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in America,” he said. “Ironically, it’s also the epicenter of anti-condom law enforcement practices that discourage the most at-risk populations from carrying condoms.”

Here’s a copy of the report from the PROS Network and the Sex Workers Project, followed by the press release:

20120417 Public Health Crisis

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/126255/bill-dont-use-condoms-in-prosecutions-persecutions/

 

CBS Local

Group Wants NY To Ban Practice Of Using Condoms As Evidence In Criminal Cases

The Sex Workers Project Says Using Condoms As Evidence Is Unhealthy

April 17, 2012 2:26 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Talk about unsafe sex.

Advocates for New York sex workers, The Sex Workers Project, released a report Tuesday and said they want authorities to stop taking condoms as evidence in criminal cases, calling it unhealthy.

Web Extra: Click Here to read the full report (pdf)

The group is lobbying Tuesday for bills to make New York the first state to ban the practice.

Two small surveys show fear of police confiscation and arrest has prompted some workers to carry fewer or no condoms and have sex without them, raising the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, according to the report.

The 2010 and 2011 surveys of sex workers were conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and by the PROS Network, a coalition of workers and advocates.

City health officials said they’ve given out 192 million condoms since 2007, while the state distributes more than 10 million annually.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/04/17/group-wants-ny-to-ban-practice-of-using-condoms-as-evidence-in-criminal-cases/

 

Why Is The NYPD Taking Away Prostitutes’ Condoms?

A new report says New York City officers routinely use condom possession as evidence of prostitution — and confiscate and destroy condoms if they think they might be used in sex work.

 

Anna North
BuzzFeed Staff

Posted about a half hour ago

The New York City Police Department frequently treats condoms as proof that the person carrying them is a prostitute, according to a report [pdf] issued yesterday by the Providers and Resources Offering Services to Sex Workers Network and The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. In 2008 and 2009, condoms were used as evidence in 39 Brooklyn prostitution cases, and one police form for reporting prostitution arrests includes a space for recording the number of condoms. Apparently even one is considered suspicious: a deposition by a Brooklyn officer describes an alleged prostitute as carrying “sexual paraphernalia, namely: One condom.”

According to the report, this has made sex workers and non-sex-workers alike afraid to carry condoms. And it’s made it harder to keep condoms if they do carry them — even if the police don’t end up using them as evidence, they often confiscate them. The report’s authors surveyed sex workers and others about this practice, and came up with some disturbing statistics:

• 42.8% of the 35 sex workers surveyed reported having condoms taken away by police at some point.
• 45.7% said they’d refrained from carrying condoms at some point because they were afraid of police.
• 22.9% had actually turned down free condoms from aid agencies out of fear of the police.
• Two out of 20 people surveyed who did not do sex work said they were also afraid to carry condoms. Explained one, “I
 had
 heard
 that
 they
 can
 lock
 you
 up
for
 a
 certain
 number
 of
 condoms.”

The authors of the report acknowledge that their sample size is small. But their findings are in line with other data — a 2010 study by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that a full 57% of sex workers had had their condoms taken away by the NYPD.

Via: sexworkersproject.org

Many find this practice questionable. One judge said, “In
 the
 age
 of
 AIDS 
and
 HIV,
 if
 people
 are 
sexually
 active
 at 
a
 certain
 age 
and 
they
 are
not
 walking 
around
 with
 condoms,
 they 
are 
fools.” But even if you accept a single condom as evidence, that doesn’t explain why police would throw them away. Which is what usually happened — two-thirds of the sex workers who’d had their condoms confiscated said police just took their condoms without arresting them. And one sex worker in an earlier study said police would “open
 her
 condoms
 and 
drop
 them 
into
 the
 sewer,
 all
 the
 time.”

Police apparently think confiscating condoms will discourage prostitution — one sex worker surveyed in the report says an officer told her, “if 
you 
don’t
 have 
this,
you
 won’t
 have 
sex.” This doesn’t appear to work particularly well — six of the 15 respondents who had their condoms confiscated still engaged in sex work the same day their condoms were taken. Three of those had unprotected sex; the other three managed to get more condoms. Said one respondent, “luckily 
I
 had
condoms
 in
 my
 Altoids
 box
 or
 I’d
 have
 to
 have
 raw
 sex.
 [...]
 I
 have
 to
 make
 money
 regardless.”

Via: sexworkersproject.org

 

Audacia Ray of sex workers’ rights organization The Red Umbrella Project says confiscating condoms is not only ineffective at preventing prostitution — it’s also a bizarre waste of state resources, because the Dept. of Health actually gives out free condoms to sex workers, only to have police take them away. And it’s dangerous: she says taking condoms creates a “public health disaster” because sex workers are at high risk of transmitting HIV.

 

Ray’s one of several sex workers’ advocates pushing for a state law called the No Condoms for Evidence Bill, which would keep police from using condoms as proof of prostitution. It’s currently in committee, but she hopes the report will “light a fire under” state legislators and convince them to pass it.

 

Not everyone is so optimistic. Hayley Gorenburg, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal, told me the bill had been “forcibly parked” in committee, and might not be moving any time soon. Lambda Legal supports the bill, and has sent a memorandum to legislators to that effect, but she says they can’t necessarily count on the legislative process to fix the problem.

 

Another option: getting the NYPD to voluntarily change its behavior. But the NYPD has not responded to my request for comment, and the wheels of the department tend to turn slowly — years of pressure on them to treat transgender detainees better, for instance, have yet to produce real change.

 

For now, the best news for sex workers’ rights advocates may be that most people in power at the state level seem to agree that taking away people’s condoms is a bad idea. Gorenburg says she’s encountered “no principled opposition” from anyone in government to the idea of ending condom confiscation. But of course, a lack of opposition isn’t the same as support.

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/why-is-the-nypd-taking-away-prostitutes-condoms

 

 

 

Times Union

 

Legislation supports safer sex

 

State senators renew effort to decriminalize possession of condoms by sex workers

 

By Casey Seiler

 

 

ALBANY — Democratic state Sens. Velmanette Montgomery and Ruth Hassell-Thompson joined advocates for sex workers and the LGBT community Tuesday to push for passage of a bill that would bar law enforcement from using the mere possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution.

 

Montgomery has pursued the legislation since 1999, watching it die in committee every two years (including in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats controlled the chamber). She said a wave of fresh support for the measure from a broad spectrum of organizations makes her hopeful the bill would make its way out its state of limbo in the Rules Committee. Republicans control the chamber by a single seat.

 

“We are not endorsing prostitution,” Montgomery said, pointing out that public health research has identified the failure to use condoms as a factor in the transmission of HIV as well as an array of other sexually transmitted diseases.

 

The news conference also marked the release of a report from the PROS Network and the Sex Workers Project that catalogs testimony and court transcripts describing incidents in which law enforcement officers have confiscated condoms from those they believe to be engaging in prostitution as a means of dissuading them from plying that trade. Some 43 percent of those who responded to the PROS survey said that police had taken, damaged or destroyed their condoms.

 

Too often, the report concludes, it simply prevents the prostitute from plying his or her trade in a safer fashion: 40 percent of respondents to the PROS survey said that after the confiscation they engaged in sexual transactions that day or night; half didn’t use a condom during those encounters.

 

Hassell-Thompson compared the situation to a construction site where workers wear hardhats or goggles as a matter or course.

 

“I didn’t see condoms as being anything different in terms of how do you protect yourself in the workplace,” she said. “The language may sound as though I condone the behavior — far from it. But what it does say is that while I recognize the fact that this is your lifestyle, your behavior, my job is to make sure you reduce your risk as you do what you do.”

 

She said that while others might see evidence of a crime, the bill defines condoms as “a work tool to prevent disease transmission.”

 

Others said the issue affects those not engaged in prostitution as well. Chris Bilal of the group Streetwise & Safe discussed the phenomenon of members of the gay and lesbian community who fear being hassled by police.

 

“In 2012, New York is the epicenter of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in America,” he said. “Ironically, it’s also the epicenter of anti-condom law enforcement practices that discourage the most at-risk populations from carrying condoms.”
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Legislation-supports-safer-sex-3489910.php#ixzz1sOsFmdCo

 

 

 

BBC News

 

Sex worker advocates call for NYC condom evidence ban

 

Advocates for sex workers in New York have called for legislation that would stop police officers confiscating condoms from prostitutes.

 

The Sex Workers Project says two surveys suggest that police frequently take away condoms from sex workers as evidence in prostitution cases.

 

The campaign group says the tactic has led to some prostitutes carrying fewer or no condoms and having unsafe sex.

 

The Sex Workers Project wants condoms to be inadmissible as evidence.

 

Under New York City’s long-running health programme, an estimated 192m condoms have been handed out since 2007.

 

HIV infections

 

The sponsor of the bill, Democratic state senator Velmanette Montgomery, says the measure is not endorsing prostitution.

 

“It is simply related to the fact that over 100,000 people right now are infected with HIV and Aids in New York City,” she said.

 

But a New York prosecutor told the Associated Press news agency that not allowing supporting evidence such as condoms could allow pimps and traffickers to walk free.

 

And Alexandra Waldhorn, a spokeswoman for the New York City health department, said that it opposed the bill.

 

A report from the Sex Workers Project found that carrying condoms was fairly standard among prostitutes, but there were several cases where police had taken condoms without arrest.

 

The report cited two recent surveys of sex workers, conducted by the city’s health department and by an advocate network.

 

The city health department survey of 63 people, found that 36 said their condoms had been confiscated and 26 told the researchers they had been arrested.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17751616

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Diario

 

 

 

Condón ‘poco saludable’

 

 

 

Se oponen a su uso como evidencia en casos criminales

 

 

 

Albany, NY.- Activistas que defienden los derechos de las prostitutas de Nueva York quieren que las autoridades dejen de usar los condones como evidencia en casos criminales, calificando esta práctica de poco saludable. Por ello, cabildearon ayer por proyectos de ley para hacer que Nueva York se convierta en el primer estado en prohibir la práctica.

 

El grupo dijo en un informe ayer que dos estudios pequeños muestran que el temor a la confiscación y detención por parte de la policía ha llevado a algunas trabajadoras a llevar menos o ningún condón y tener relaciones sexuales sin ellos, aumentando el riesgo de enfermedades de transmisión sexual.

 

Las encuestas a las trabajadoras sexuales fueron realizadas en 2010 y 2011 por el Departamento de Salud e Higiene Mental de la Ciudad de Nueva York y por la Red PROS, una coalición de trabajadores y activistas.

 

Las autoridades municipales de salud indicaron que han entregado 192 millones de condones desde el año 2007, mientras que el Estado distribuye más de 10 millones anualmente.

 

http://www.eldiariony.com/article/20120418/LOCALES/304189948

 

 

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