An outreach worker at Boom Health center, package condoms for distribution to sex trade workers, Friday April 25, 2014 in Bronx, N.Y. New York would become the first state to prohibit police and prosecutors from using the possession of condoms as evidence against suspected sex workers under a measure pending before lawmakers. Critics of the policy say it�s unfair and undermines efforts to promote condom use. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
NYPD to Stop Seizing Sex Work Suspects' Condoms
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Police Department says officers will no longer confiscate unused condoms as evidence of prostitution by people suspected of being sex workers.
The policy change was announced Monday following criticism the practice undermined efforts to promote condom use. Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh) called it "the right thing to do."
Police had confiscated condoms ostensibly as evidence in criminal trials. Civil rights groups argued police seized them as a way to harass sex work suspects and said the practice undercut efforts to combat sexually transmitted diseases.
A 2010 study found more than half of sex workers surveyed in the city had condoms confiscated. Nearly a third said they sometimes didn't carry condoms for fear of arrest.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn and Long's Island Nassau County and in San Francisco already stopped using condoms as evidence of prostitution.