New York State Bill S1379/A2305 would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution. Currently, police and courts can use the fact that a person has or is carrying condoms to prove that they are engaging in criminal activity. Sex workers report that they are more likely to be arrested if they carry condoms. Police officers regularly confiscate condoms from people they allege are engaged in prostitution to use as evidence against them at trial. As a result people are hesitant to carry condoms to protect themselves and others, for fear that it will lead to arrest or be held against them in court. Sound public health policy would encourage condom use by eliminating the fear that carrying a condom will be used against you by police or in a court of law.
Follow this link to read the Text of State Bill S1379/A2305 and stay updated on the Bill’s actions in the State Legislature
Watch a short PSA about this issue.
Read our joint report with the PROS Network: "Public Health Crisis: The Impact of Using Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in New York City"
What's happening now
On June 20, 2013, the "No Condoms As Evidence" bill passed the New York State Assembly for the first time. Read our press release
On June 18, 2013, the New York City Council Committees on Civil Rights and Immigration held a hearing on Res 710-A to support the No Condoms As Evidence bill. [Video]
On June 6, 2013, a rally for No Condoms as Evidence will be held on the steps of City Hall.
On April 23, 2013, Sex Workers Project and allies held a historic Advocacy Day, bringing 70-plus sex workers and allies to Albany.
On March 7, 2013, the DC Metropolitan Police Department began distributing cards asserting that condoms are not a crime.
On February 13, 2013, the California legislature introduced a bill to prevent condoms from being used as evidence of prostitution.
On February 13, 2013, the Nassau District Attorney enacted a comprehensive policy to not use condoms in any prostitution-related case.
On February 7, 2013, The President’s Advisory Council on AIDS (PACHA), passed a resolution against criminalizing condoms in sex work-related prosecutions.
On January 9, 2013, Velmanette Montgomery reintroduced the No Condoms As Evidence Bill and it was referred to the Judiciary Committee.
On January 17, 2013, Barbara Clark reintroduced the No Condoms As Evidence Bill and it was referred to the Codes Committee.
On October 31, 2012, San Francisco commenced a 90 day trial of not using condoms as evidence of prostitution.
What you can do
Write letters to the editor, tweet, blog and spread the word!
Below are some articles written about this campaign:
Youth and Sex Workers Are Scared to Carry Condoms
WBAI -- 06/06/2013
Police in Brooklyn Are Told Not to Seize Condoms of Prostitutes
New York Times -- 05/29/2013
Nassau disallows condoms as prostitution evidence because of health concerns
Newsday -- 05/05/2013
New Yorkers ask cops to stop confiscating condoms
Metro -- 04/28/2013
Sex Worker Advocates Ask New York to Stop Punishing People for Having Condoms
Slate -- 04/24/2013
Forced Into Prostitution -- and Denied a Lifeline
Huffington Post -- 05/15/2013
What Happens When Condoms Are Criminal?
Huffington Post -- 05/09/2013
Nassau County Quits Using Condoms As Evidence For Prostitution Charges
CBS New York -- 05/06/2013
A Prosecutor's Long Game: When the Public's Health Becomes the Greater Good
Huffington Post -- 10/10/2012
Cops vs. Condoms
Metro Weekly -- 08/02/2012
Get your organization to support S1379/A2305
Below are memos of support from organizations who have endorsed the bill.
- Human Rights Watch
- New York City HIV Prevention Planning Group
- Family Planning Advocates
- New York Anti-Trafficking Network
- Safe Horizon
- Gay Men's Health Crisis
- Center for Constitutional Rights
- Public Health Organizations
- Sex Workers Project
- St Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction
- Community Healthcare Network
- New York Civil Liberties Union
- NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
- SWANK and SWOP-NYC
Write a memo on behalf of your organization and send it to the Senate and Assembly - please send us a copy too!
Send Red Umbrella Project's postcards to your representatives
Fill out your address at the Red Umbrella Project's website, and they'll send two of their educational postcards about condoms as evidence to your State Senator and Assembly Member in your name.
Learn how to lobby your representatives
SWP and Sex Work Awareness hold annual Legislative Advocacy workshops for sex workers and allies. Email Sienna Baskin to get involved.
See PROP's voter education guide to find out which candidates running for city office support the use of condoms as evidence.