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NYPD to stop seizing sex work suspects' condoms

Mayor De Blasio Presents His FY2015 Budget

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate unused condoms as evidence of prostitution by people suspected of being sex industry workers, abolishing a practice criticized by civil rights groups for undermining efforts to combat AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

Advocates for sex workers and civil rights groups had long pushed for the policy change, noting that the city spends more than $1 million every year to distribute free condoms.

For decades, police in New York and elsewhere had confiscated condoms from sex work suspects ostensibly for them to be used as evidence in criminal trials, even though the overwhelming majority of prostitution cases never go to trial.

"A policy that inhibits people from safe sex is a mistake and dangerous," di Blasio said Monday at an unrelated event in Queens. "And there are a number of ways you can go about putting together evidence" without condoms, he said.

A 2010 study by the city's Department of Health surveyed more than 60 sex workers and found that more than half had condoms confiscated by police. Nearly a third said they had at times not carried condoms because they feared getting into trouble.

Two years later, the group Human Rights Watch interviewed 197 sex workers in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco and found that many limited the number of condoms they carried or went without because they feared police attention. The report concluded that transgender teens, street-level sex workers and immigrants were especially targeted because of their appearance or behavior.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn and Long Island's Nassau County and in San Francisco decided last year to no longer use condoms as evidence in prostitution cases.

Measures to formally abolish the practice across New York state have been introduced in the Legislature for nearly two decades and last year passed the Assembly. Similar legislation has been introduced in California.

The New York Police Department makes about 2,500 prostitution arrests a year.

One respondent in the Human Rights Watch study, Brooklyn sex worker Pam G., told the researchers she has had condoms taken by police.

"The cops say, 'What are you carrying all those condoms for? We could arrest you just for this,'" she said. "It happens all the time around here. I may be carrying eight condoms. If you have more than three or four, they will take them."

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ivanjung May 12 2014 at 6:18 PM

It can be that the prick need some for him self.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
bankfive May 12 2014 at 8:16 PM

This guy is a punk ...just like the rest of the punks in the east . Come to Texas and get whipped quick ...bring the half breed.

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1 reply
thundt1775 bankfive May 12 2014 at 9:32 PM

Let's have another Civil War while we're at it. It's be a pleasure to ram the Stars N Bars where the sun don't shine, again. Half breeds and inbreds, what's the difference? Texas? Only steers and que*rs come from Texas. The women are pretty. The Mexican ones that is.

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wbearl May 12 2014 at 8:24 PM

It is truly amazing that this man was elected. I have always had doubts about the people of New York, but no longer, they have confirmed my worst fears.

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jerseyj08 May 12 2014 at 8:26 PM

NYC = SmutCity. Liberal politicians always lean toward Smut.

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1 reply
thundt1775 jerseyj08 May 12 2014 at 9:13 PM

Jersey's only claim to fame is that it's close to NYC. What are YOU on about? I've been through Jersey many times and have yet to see this garden that the state is supposedly famous for.

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Tom May 12 2014 at 8:31 PM

Outlaw sodas larger than 16 oz but don't confiscate condoms from prostitutes when they are arrested and hand out a million dollars worth every year. The only bigger idiots than this guy are the ones who put him in office. Even the article frequently referring to them as "sex workers" rather than prostitutes is like calling them undocumented workers rather than illegal aliens.

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2 replies
thundt1775 Tom May 12 2014 at 9:49 PM

That whole soda idea was Bloomberg's NOT DiBlasio's.

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1 reply
sunon thundt1775 May 12 2014 at 10:54 PM

i thought it was funny; when they couldn't buy 20 oz they got 2 16"s.
maybe bloomie was hyping the soda industry?

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aljoramaggio Tom May 13 2014 at 12:34 AM

That was Mayor Bloomberg.
The reasons had nothing to do with health, regarding the sodas.
He just wanted them sold smaller, to be able to tax those who wanted to drink a larger amount, twice.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Brian Workman May 12 2014 at 8:38 PM

SEX WORK SUSPECT!?!? What the He==l ! is that!?! Politically Correct Speech!?!?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Franco Brian Workman May 12 2014 at 9:38 PM

It's "hoe." :O)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kingdotkom May 12 2014 at 8:47 PM

De Blasio is a ********* so he could use them to cover his face!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jwiegand1 May 12 2014 at 8:48 PM

This guy is a scary waste of human skin. I guess if nothing else he could serve as a bad example that could be displayed, while asking kids, "if you stop using your brain, this is what you'll become."

Flag Reply +6 rate up
pattybabes143 May 12 2014 at 8:48 PM

When are these BOZOS going to legalize prostitution? Its the oldest job in the world. Instead of wasting time & money locking these people up, LEGALIZE IT. It will never go away.Put it in a certain area of town, Regulate the trade. Have the health dept give regular checkups to stop the spread of disease. Licence them. They will be happy & customers will be safe. Then the cops can stop rounding them up & confiscating their only source of protection, THEIR CONDOMS. Do they keep all these condoms in an evidence locker? STUPID STUPID IGNORANT SYSTEM

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
thundt1775 pattybabes143 May 12 2014 at 9:09 PM

Makes perfect sense.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
JIM ISHOO May 12 2014 at 8:49 PM

why would anyone ellect this man to begin with, he is not all there yet, he is from new york though, that says it all.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
thundt1775 JIM ISHOO May 12 2014 at 9:09 PM

Why? A big reason is that he is not Bloomberg.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sunon JIM ISHOO May 12 2014 at 10:51 PM

that's odd: a new yorker as mayor of new york? what will they think of next?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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