Lambda Legal Applauds NYC Police Dept. Move to Limit Use of Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution

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May 12, 2014

Today, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced that police will no longer use possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution in particular circumstances.

This is a great step in the right direction and will move New York City toward allowing condoms to be used for their real intent - to protect health. We urge Commissioner Bratton to remove all uses of condoms as evidence of sex work in any setting - including trafficking - because using condoms as evidence can motivate human traffickers to keep the people they traffick from using condoms at all.

Lambda Legal has advocated to change police and prosecutorial use of condoms, and among other efforts sent a letter to the New York Senate, urging reform. The letter states in part:

Using condoms as evidence of criminal conduct further exposes communities that have historically been both hard-hit by HIV and subjected to intense police scrutiny. The practice disproportionately affects transgender women, who experience such a high rate of false targeting by police as sex workers in New York City that it was the subject of a 2005 campaign by Amnesty International.

Read the press release.