“First [the police officer] asked me what I was doing with all these condoms. Then he took the bag and threw it in the garbage. Then he arrested me.”
—A transgender woman in New York City, from a 2009 Sex Workers Project survey.
(Ms. Magazine, winter 2010)
Apparently this is a common practice of confiscating condoms from sex workers when detained by the police. Not to mention grounds for arrest if you have “too many” (?) According to a recent Sex Workers Survey, an overwhelmingly majority have concerns about the limit of condoms they can have at once without being hassled by the police. The practice of confiscating condoms is highly practiced in states such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area. Not surprising, Washington D.C. has the highest AIDS/HIV infection rate. Unfortunately there will always be prostitutes and sex workers. Though I would love to see these women, men, and often time youth off the street, that’s not going to happen. No matter how many times these individuals get arrested, beaten, or their condoms taken away these women and men remain on the street. So why not keep them protected. Taking condoms away from them is not going to curb prostitution. It’s only going to put them at risk. And when you think about it, the people actually recieving ‘services’ by prostitutes are going back home to significant others and spouses. Law enforcement is not just putting sex workers at risk but also the community as a whole.
And to say “well hey just don’t be a prostitute”. Well unfortunately that issue is here to stay. And the least we can do is continue to aid in their protection, (not confiscating condoms), which in turns aids in the overall safety of the community.