New York City spends more than a million dollars every year to distribute free condoms to combat unintended pregnancies and diseases such as AIDS. Yet city police are allowed to confiscate those very condoms as evidence of prostitution.
That conflict is behind the latest legislative proposal to make New York the first state to prohibit condoms – specifically the existence of multiple condoms – from being used as evidence in prostitution cases, a widespread practice that advocates say undermines decades of public health goals.
“There may be no actual evidence, and the condom is their only way to trying to prove it,” said Hawk Kinkaid, a former male escort who now advocates on their behalf in New York City. “The fear that this will be used against you – it prevents people from being able to protect themselves.”