Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Criminal Condom Possession in NY?

Pop Quiz: Use of condoms by sex workers is:
                  A) Good for society because it stops the spread of STDs, or
                  B) Bad for society because it encourages prostitution.

Okay, pencils down. If you said B, then you are probably a New York City prosecutor. If you said A, then you are any other sane person. Thanks to Jezebel for pointing out that NYC cops are taking advantage of the City's controversial "stop and frisk" laws to order suspected prostitutes to empty their pockets. Possession of condoms is then used as evidence of criminal prostitution in court.

Am I the only one who finds this weirdly familiar to the arguments against vaccinating kids against HPV? Opponents of the Gardasil vaccine want to discourage teens from having sex by making the behavior even riskier. NY prosecutors want to discourage prostitution, so they criminalize efforts to make it safer. And society at large pays the cost of treating cases of cervical cancer, drug-resistant gonorrhea, and HIV which could have been avoided.

Even odder, the practice is in direct opposition to the NYC Department of Health's efforts to stop the spread of STDs by distributing 35 million condoms last year.

Ready for one more WTF? Brooklyn Democratic Senator Velmanette Montgomery has introduced a bill every year since 1999 to prohibit using condoms as evidence of prostitution, and it hasn't passed yet. With recent involvement of Human Rights Watch, this could be the year.

But, seriously! This is ridiculous.

Today's $5 is for the Urban Justice Center, who advocates for sex workers and other vulnerable populations in New York City.


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