The New York City Department of Health is a major proponent of safe sex. It distributed 35.5 million free condoms last year, and even launched an app that directs users to the nearest place to pick them up. But increasingly, according to the Village Voice, the mere possession of those free condoms could be used as cause for arrest. Studies and experts—and some prostitutes themselves—say that the possession of condoms is often used by police as evidence of “loitering for the purposes of prostitution,” an arrestable offense. Worse, some police are reportedly setting up undercover operations near places of condom distribution in order to sting sex workers, problematically causing some of them to be wary of carrying condoms at all.
Safe … or Sorry? Stan Honda / AFP