Good news: a bill that would prohibit prosecutors from using condoms as evidence against sex workers in New York has passed through the state Assembly and could soon get approval in the Senate. If passed, it would be the law of its kind in the U.S.
Beyond simple discrimination, the practice of using condoms to arrest people on sex work charges is especially problematic when considering that New York City distributes millions of dollars worth of free condoms a year. Under current law, you could be arrested for carrying the same condoms you just picked up from your doctor’s office.
Prosecuting people for carrying protection may also act as a deterrent, so that someone who might otherwise use a condom would go without one for fear of arrest. “There may be no actual evidence, and the condom is their only way of trying to prove it,” Hawk Kincaid, an advocate for sex workers, told NBC. “The fear that this will be used against you — it prevents people from being able to protect themselves.”