Unintended consequences everywhere!:
Police in major cities in the United States are criminalising women who carry a stock of condoms, making sex workers and their clients less likely to use them and increasing their risk of contracting HIV, says Human Rights Watch.
A new report compiles evidence from sex workers in four major cities – Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Interviews with more than 300 people show that those most at risk of HIV, such as sex workers and transgender women, are afraid to carry condoms in case they should be stopped and searched by police.
“Some women told Human Rights Watch that they continued to carry condoms despite the harsh consequences. For others, fear of arrest overwhelmed their need to protect themselves from HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy,” says the report.
One of the interviewees, Carol F, a sex worker in Los Angeles, told HRW she had been arrested partly on the basis of carrying condoms. “After the arrest, I was always scared … There were times when I didn’t have a condom when I needed one, and I used a plastic bag,” she said.
Prostitution is a crime in 49 states of the US. Law enforcement agencies view the possession of multiple condoms as evidence that could help a court prosecution for a breach of the law.
Prostitution is a victimless crime. Prohibiting it only creates a profitable and unsafe black market. The government is destroying these women’s lives by prohibiting it and then criminalizing the possession of condoms. The government is so backward.