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“When Having Condoms Gets You Arrested”

Photo credit: Africa Studios/Shutterstock

Editor’s Note:
If this is occurring in the large cities, we can count on this topic to trickle-down here to the South Sound in the future, as the recent story demonstrates in The Olympian on “the growing epidemic of intravenous drug use, and its manifestation in a marked increase in discarded needles downtown and in public parks.”
The nuances of the condom issue are important to be aware:

“Last week, Mother Jones’ Molly Redden wrote about a recent Human Rights Watch report, “In Harms Way,” which argues that aggressive policing in New Orleans is contributing to the citys soaring HIV/AIDS rates. One tactic that Human Rights Watch found to be particularly problematic: the police harassment of suspected sex workers for possessing condoms.

At the heart of the matter is the vague definition of the crime of “loitering for prostitution,” which invites arbitrary arrests and discriminatory policing. According to the report, police in New Orleans use the possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution, even if they don’t witness the crime underway. The result? Of the reports 169 interviewees, all of whom had exchanged sex for money, drugs, or life necessities, more than a third said that they had carried fewer condoms out of fear of police harassment. More than a quarter had had unprotected sex due to the fear of carrying condoms.

“New Orleans isnt the only place where Human Rights Watch has documented condom confiscation. Last year, the organization examined the police treatment of sex workers in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, and found that police in all four cities were using condoms as evidence of prostitution.”

“Over the past year, some places have made progress. In June, New York became the first state to pass a law prohibiting the use of condom possession as evidence of prostitution-related crimes,” quoting Julia Lurie in Mother Jones.
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Posted by Steve on January 11, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

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