Empire State Plaza in Albany is set abuzz in April 2012 when sex workers and their allies visit more than 40 legislators to bring attention to the impact of the use of condoms as evidence by police and the courts, and to advocate for a law to end this practice. This short reveals what happens in NYC, at the epicenter of the implementation of this policy, and how it is connected to “stop and frisk” and other forms of discrimination towards communities affected by anti-prostitution policies.

When police stop and frisk people and find that they are carrying condoms, they often confiscate or destroy the condoms. Currently, police and prosecutors in New York State can use the possession of condoms as evidence that people are engaging in the crimes of prostitution and loitering for the purposes of engaging in a prostitution offense. In a state with a major free condom program and in a city with the only municipally-branded condom in the world, it is shameful that the Department of Health gives away condoms only for the New York Police Department to confiscate them from people.

Red Umbrella Project is on the Executive Committee of the No Condoms as Evidence Coalition, a 20-plus-member coalition organized to pass legislation in New York state to ban the use of condoms as evidence. We shot this video during our historic 2012 lobby day, the first Albany lobby day we know of organized by people in the sex trades to meet with elected officials. We are still working hard to get this legislation passed.

Advocating in Albany Image

Producer: Red Umbrella Project

Benefitting Organization: Red Umbrella Project