New York could ban condoms from being used against prostitutes

New bill would ban cops from questioning individuals carrying multiple condoms.
By Matt Bradwell   |   April 27, 2014 at 4:24 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., April 27 (UPI) -- Condoms may no longer be used as reason for police questioning in New York if a newly introduced bill passes the state legislature.

Condoms are commonly used by police officers to asses potential prostitution arrests, a fact that's forcing serious policy review in New York as, if passed, New York State Bill S1379/A2736 would ban the practice. New York would become the first state to pass such a law.

As the law stands, possession of a condom or multiple condoms can be used to justify police questioning and is admissible in prosecution. Although this is currently the case in every major U.S. city, prosecutors in San Francisco and New York City, along with nearby Brooklyn and Nassau County, announced last year they would cease using condoms as evidence.

Support for the legislation comes from immigrant, human rights and public health groups that say the practice is discriminatory and undermines efforts to enable safe sex. A 2010 study revealed that roughly half of New York City's sex workers chose not to carry condoms to minimize evidence of their activities.

The bill is being reviewed by the state Senate, with supporters aiming to have it passed before May.

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