Cops Arrest Sex Workers for Carrying CondomsOn October 4, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Here we are in Queens. This is an area where we transgender girls hang out and do sex work. I usually carry one or two condoms with me in my wallet because if I have more condoms, the police can use them as evidence to charge us with prostitution. Cops in four of the major cities that we documented in this report are stopping sex workers on the street and harassing them for carrying too many
condoms and threatening to arrest them threatening to basically use the condoms
against them in court on the prostitution charges and this is a problem because it’s making sex workers less willing to carry and use condoms while they’re working and they’re ending up having unprotected sex with their clients as a result. Unfortunately, I can only carry one condom. I can’t carry more because if I have bad luck and the police catch me they could put me in jail, because police can use them as proof. Transgender people have terrible problems with being profiled by the police and with being arrested falsely for prostitution, and just being equated with sex work in the mind of many many police officers. I don’t work the streets but I always carry protection with me. In case I find a guy I like… These are very vulnerable
very marginalized people who are living very risky existences and condoms are one of the few protections they have. You asked where we hide our condoms… we hide condoms in our private parts, where they won’t touch us. Here… in our private parts…here… in our breasts. And sometimes we hide them in our wigs, because we afraid of being arrested just for having condoms. Public health departments are
spending millions of dollars on HIV prevention and specifically targeting
sex workers and transgender people for HIV prevention including distributing millions of condoms and the sex workers asked us how can they be handing us a condom on the one hand and then putting us in jail for it on the other. We should be able to carry condoms to protect ourselves and to protect the people we are with. The authorities show a real lack of intelligence when they say it’s a crime to carry condoms. In the transgender community, not carrying condoms is a death wish. District attorneys and police departments can issue directives to the policeman on the street saying we want to promote condom use for HIV prevention. Condoms are important for public health. Don’t take away people’s condoms.