Sex Workers at Risk: Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities, Human Rights Watch (2012)

White Papers and Reports

This Human Rights Watch report focuses on the police practice of using the possession of condoms as evidence to support sex work-related charges in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The report states that many sex workers in these cities have become afraid to carry condoms out of fear of police harassment, which then results in them engaging in unprotected sex. This police practice increases the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV infection. To combat this issue, the report suggests, among other things, issuing a directive to all officers in the relevant four cities emphasizing the importance of condoms for HIV prevention, enacting legislation to prohibit the practice of using condom possession as evidence of prostitution, and having the U.S. Department of Justice investigate police treatment of sex workers in these cities.