Stateside, things couldn’t be more confused regarding prostitution and safe sex. Prostitutes themselves are up in arms over the fact that police can arrest a sex worker once they can find reasonable evidence in the form of condom possession. Prostitutes have taken to not carrying condoms and are therefore more at risk of contracting and spreading sexually transmitted infections and most worryingly, contributing to the spread of HIV. Is there any reason why arresting a sex worker on the basis of condom possession is a good idea?
Two organisations, the PROS Network and the Sex Workers Project gathered in New York State to highlight before lawmaker’s, the importance of passing a new bill in order to put a stop to this practice. There are apparently known cases of prostitutes who do not carry condoms now because they are afraid of being caught and arrested. This is surely not the way to crack down on street walking when rates of STIs and HIV are on the increase. These sex workers fear they will be arrested if they carry condoms and at risk of infection if they don’t. They are unhappy with either outcome so they feel that they might as well make money, take the health risk and avoid being put behind bars.
This is clearly not a satisfactory situation. Nobody wants prostitutes hanging around their neighbourhood but pretending that they can be coerced into giving up their line of work is foolhardy. Prostitution is not called the oldest profession for nothing – it has been around for ever and will always be there. Pretending that you can stamp out prostitution in this way is ludicrous and a public health hazard. Lawmakers need to use some common sense and pass a law that ensures public health is safeguarded.