Carrying condoms is the safe thing to do in today’s day and age—after all, safe sex is important. Yet carrying condoms can also get you arrested—and in some cases, charged with prostitution or sex trafficking. That’s right. Police officers in New York, San Francisco, and even Colorado can use condoms as evidence that you were about to commit a sex crime. Even if you are a sex worker, carrying condoms is important for your health and wellbeing, and the fear of being arrested prevents many sex workers from taking the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
Condoms and Misdemeanors
Carrying condoms is often considered “evidence” of prostitution, Internet sex crimes, and sex trafficking. If you approach a prostitute or someone who you believe is a prostitute and you happen to have condoms in your pocket, then police officers can confiscate your condoms and use them as evidence that you “intended” to commit a sex crime or engage in illegal sex with a prostitute.
Yet large cities like New York City and San Francisco personally distribute condoms to promote safe sex. New York itself distributes over 40 million condoms a year. Yet if you are in possession of a condom and police suspect you of being a sex worker, then you could find yourself in serious trouble.
New York City recently addressed this disturbing issue when they announced that they would no longer confiscate unused condoms as evidence in some prostitution cases. Condoms will be held with personal property and released to the individual when that person is released. Police officers will, however, still confiscate condoms from individuals that they believe are guilty of sex trafficking or other more serious sex offenses. This shift in policy occurred after it was revealed that in 2010, 57% of sex workers had condoms taken away by police officers and 33% stopped carrying condoms for fear of police. This directly risks the health of sex workers—as well as the health of all their clients.
Arresting sex workers and confiscating their condoms to use as evidence only undermined the message the Health Department has been trying to make for years—safe sex or no sex.
Safe Sex and Legal Chrges
Condoms prevent the spread of serious and deadly sexually transmitted diseases each year, such as HIV, Herpes, and Syphilis. Public health officials have been lobbying for these legal changes for years and believe that police officers can still crack down on sex workers, sex trafficking, and sex crimes without endangering the health of sex workers and their clients.
Arrested for Suspicion of Being a Sex Worker
Unfortunately, police officers often arrest innocent individuals for prostitution or sex crimes simply for having the wrong sexual orientation, walking in the wrong neighborhood, wearing the wrong attire, or having the wrong color of skin. This can be damaging to innocent men and women—and can cause them to lose their jobs, damage relationships, and even make them ineligible for food stamps or Section 8 housing. In particular, transsexual women have the worst time and are often mistaken for prostitutes—even when there is little evidence to support this claim. 59% of trans women have been stopped by the police for suspicion of prostitution.
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with prostitution or other sex crime and the police are using the possession of condoms as evidence, it is important to retain an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney may be able to have the charges against you reduced to a lesser offense—or even dismissed all together. There are ways to fight prostitution charges, so don’t delay.
Denver criminal defense attorney Steven Louth has successfully represented accused individuals in Denver and throughout Colorado. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Denver, Boulder, or anywhere in Colorado, call Steven Louth Law Offices at 303-442-2297 today for a free case evaluation. No matter how serious the charges are against you, there are ways to fight them. Call today!