• Wed, Apr 18 2012

Sex Workers To Police: Please Stop Confiscating Our Condoms

free condoms for sex workers

In New York, it’s a common practice for police to confiscate condoms as evidence in cases of alleged prostitution. Unfortunately, that means that sex workers, who are already at risk of sexual violence and who often don’t have health care and who really, really need on-the-job protection in the form of condoms, are faced with a dangerous choice: continue to work (because they need to make a living) and put themselves at greater risk of HIV and other STIs, or stop working, go hungry, and possibly risk abuse from their pimp. But lawmakers in the state are trying to end the practice–not because they condone prostitution, but because they understand that HIV is a public health crisis, and because sex workers are still humans.

According to the Sex Workers Project, who have police frequently stop and frisk working women along popular prostitution tracks. And even when these stops don’t end in arrest (they usually don’t), the police will still take any and all condoms that they may find on the women and destroy them or render them useless.

But it doesn’t appear to be working–in a large-scale survey released yesterday, the SWP (along with several other sex work advocacy groups) found that 40% of workers who had had condoms confiscated went on to continue to work without them, putting them at risk of disease. The most common reason given by respondents for not carrying condoms was fear of police. Indeed, if the practice has any impact at all, it’s keeping sex workers from carrying condoms–over 22% reported having turned down free condoms from outreach workers for fear of arrest or other police action.

Lawmakers in New York have introduced a bill to end the practice–A1008/S323 will make condoms no longer admissible in court as proof of prostitution.

Sex work may be illegal, but it’s also a reality of just about every culture since the beginning of time. And while you can condemn the job all you want (plenty of people do), the fact is that taking away a sex worker’s most critical form of protection is like stopping a motorcyclist for speeding, and taking away her helmet as evidence in the case. It doesn’t really prove anything–plenty of non-prostitutes carry condoms, and they are called “women who are taking responsibility for their sexual health”–and it leaves the women in greater danger than the police found them. And it does not, as some advocates for the practice argue, help anyone make a case against pimps or johns (how could it? By finding the pimp’s fingerprints on the condom wrapper? Please.) It really only hurts sex workers.

Additionally, many of the condoms which are being destroyed are given out for free by various public health organizations, including the City of New York itself, who have spent millions to distribute the inexpensive contraceptive. Which means that condoms, which are being paid for by tax dollars, and also getting destroyed by public officials who are also paid by tax dollars. It’s hugely wasteful from a financial standpoint–and if it results in the spread of diseases like HIV and AIDS (which it will, because that’s how sex works), the cost is even higher.

Sex workers already have it rough; they’re generally looked down upon by just about everyone, they’re the punchline of every tasteless joke, they’re at huge risk of violence and abuse (both at work and after arrest), and are some of the women and men who are most impacted by the anti-sexual health bills that are being passed in states like Arizona and Texas. In today’s financially-strapped, sex-negative, shame-based climate, this kind of legislature is a common-sense, money-saving move–and an important step toward protecting the rights and health of all women (no matter what their profession).

Image: NYC Condoms

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • pshelas

    HURT OF CONDOM
    WHICH USED AS CONTRACEPTIVE
    TO PREVENT PRAGNANCY IN
    WOMEN
    _______________________
    When the man using
    CONDOMS
    As contraceptive the woman
    Become mad and crazy
    this duo to the semen of
    Man is remaining In the CONDOMS
    And it was not ejaculated and dropping in
    Vagina of women there is not sweet taste for
    Sex meeting
    Like that you are drinking tea or coffee with out
    Sugar the coffee or tea is not sweet it is bitter
    Semen
    Of man is like Sugar it make the coitus and
    Sex meeting sweet to woman
    The sex meeting
    Sweet With out
    CONDOMS
    When man is not Using
    CONDOMS
    In sex meeting with woman the
    Semen of man will Ejaculated and dropping and
    Falling in vagina of Woman then the semen is
    Absorbed by vagina wall and inter the blood
    Circulation and reached the brain
    Then the women mind become in a convenience
    Mood and good feeling she is not be a Madden Or Crazy woman
    ______________________
    ADVICE FOR YOU
    _______________________
    To good enjoy and pleasure in your sexual live
    And good ERECTION of your CLITORIS I give
    You this ADVICE
    STOP
    Practice reading and writing
    Because practice reading and writing
    Loosening and lowering the SEXUAL ability and power of you
    GO TO LIVE IN Villages and forestry far from cities and towns
    Practice READING and WRITING make you unusual
    Woman or SADOMITE (SODOMY) women
    ________________________________
    SO WE HAVE NEW METHOD FOR
    CONTRACEPTION

    _______________________________
    BARLEY AS CONTRACEPTIVE AND
    SEX TONIC FOR MEN AND WOMEN
    ___________________________
    BREAKFAST
    * Barley loaf – bread
    * Margarine
    * Jam
    * Tea or coffee
    ________________________
    LUNCH
    * Barley loaf – bread
    * Grill ham
    * Salad – Cucumber, celery, Pepper, lettuce
    * Pickly – mayonnaise
    * Pepsi cola

    __________________________

    DINNER
    * Barley loaf – bread
    * Fried egg in vegetable oil – With out shaking the yolk
    * Prawns
    * Oyster
    * Shrimp
    * Salad – ( Cucumber, celery, pepper, lettuce )
    ___________________________________

    IT IS FORBIDDEN TO EAT THE
    Following FOOD cause it increase
    Fertility in WOMEN and MEN
    —————————————–
    * RICE
    * HONEY
    * FRUITS = (DATE – GRAPE – FIG – APPLE -
    APRICOT – BANANA – PEACH……..etc).
    * OVINE MEAT (SHEEP)
    * BOVINE MEAT (COW)
    * FISH
    _____________________________________________________
    The statistical indication of Successfulness of this method is finding Out in population of
    CHINA
    Cause they depend on RICE since old or ancient times.
    _______________________________________