NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY BILL S1379/A2305
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 shortPSA 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 ourpress 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:
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.
EmailSienna 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.
A CALL TO CHANGE US POLICY ON SEX WORK AND HIV
On 22-27 July 2012, more than 30,000 people will gather in Washington, D.C. for the International AIDS Conference. As the largest global health and development conference ever, it provides unique opportunities to understand the critical intersection between protecting human rights and stopping HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, U.S. immigration law bars anyone who has "engaged in prostitution" from entering the country. Global sex workers have been denied participation in the IAC, making it difficult for the conference to truly represent communities at risk.
"A Call to Change U.S. Policy on Sex Work and HIV," (PDF, 74K) was drafted by U.S. sex workers and advocates. In July, we will stand in solidarity with international sex workers, stand up to human rights violations, and stand for expanded access to treatment and prevention.
What you can do
Endorse the call
Join us in demanding that the U.S. Government reform laws and policies that harm sex workers domestically and globally, directly inhibiting the fight against HIV/AIDS. Your endorsement will help build a movement for change. To endorse "A Call to Change U.S. Policy on Sex Work and HIV," please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Affiliation/Organization (if relevant)
- I am authorized to sign on behalf of the affiliate organization listed above so that it can be listed as endorsing the declaration: Yes/No
- Title/Role and Degrees (if relevant)
- Please indicate whether you are one of the following: Medical/services provider, Researcher, Government employee, Funder, Community member, or other.
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OF UNITED STATES HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD
This year, the United States participated in a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a process set up by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations to assess the level of human rights in each country. The U.S. received more than 200 recommendations.
Recommendation 86 called on the Obama Administration to "...ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses."
The Sex Workers Project joined a coalition, Human Rights for All: Concerned Advocates for Sex Workers and People in the Sex Trade, to convince lawmakers to accept Recommendation 86.
- We signed onto a letter to the Department of State (PDF, 283K) from more than 120 human rights organizations.
- We made an official statement to the United Nations (PDF, 37K) as a member of civil society with "observer" status.
Last week, the U.S. released its ,a target="_blank" href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/upr/157986.htm">report to the U.N. states saying, "We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution." On March 18th, in Geneva, the U.S. formally endorsed UN Recommendation 86.
We believe this is the first time the United States has affirmed the need for human rights protections for sex workers.
- We endorsed an oral statement (PDF, 45K) to the U.N., delivered by Darby Hicky in Geneva.
- We sent a letter of commendation to the State Department (PDF, 299K), thanking them for taking this brave step and outlining changes that should be made to support sex workers rights.
- We offered legal support to solidarity demonstrations by sex workers (PDF, 111K) celebrating this victory.
What you can do
Send a letter of thanks
Thank the Department of State for officially condemning violence and discrimination against sex workers. You can use our letter (PDF, 299K) as an example.
Write letters to the editor, tweet, blog and spread the word
Here is a press release (PDF, 74K) to get you started.
Learn more ...
... about the UPR process in this guide from the Human Rights Project (PDF, 1.7MB).