Advocating in Albany: No Condoms As Evidence

(2013-4:20 min.) According to the findings of studies conducted by Human Rights Watch, Make the Road NY, and the PROS Network, New York police routinely use possession of condoms as a reason to stop-and-frisk sex workers and those profiled as sex workers, after which they often confiscate and destroy the condoms. These stops also lead to arrests and charges of Prostitution and Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution. Trans women of color and queer people of color are often profiled as sex workers and thus are frequent targets for such stops.

In April 2012 Red Umbrella Project joined with a coalition of advocates, including members of Streetwise and Safe, the Sex Workers Project, and the PROS Network to lobby elected officials in Albany. On this historic day, sex workers and allies met with representatives to express our concerns and encourage them to pass the No Condoms as Evidence bill into law. The bill would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution. The advocates explained to the legislators how New York could not hope to fully encourage condom use if those profiled as sex workers by the police were afraid of carrying condoms. But getting a bill passed is a long process, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us before it finally becomes law.

In 2013 we’re continuing the fight with another lobby day in Albany on April 23 and five FREE trainings to support members of our communities who want to learn more about this issue and how to speak up about it.

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Other Works

Remember the Living: Monica Forrester on Sisters in Spirit and Indigenous Sex Workers
The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak (10 min English excerpt)
Equal Rights
American Courtesans

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