Elected officials gathered on the steps of New York City Hall Thursday calling for an end to the confiscation and introduction of condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses. New York City Council Members Jessica Lappin, Stephen Levin, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer; New York Assemblymembers Walter T. Mosley III and Francisco Moya; Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice; and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes joined Ellen Meyers, widow of the late Brooklyn Judge Gustin Reichbach, as they championed for new proposed bill.
Legislation that would prohibit police from confiscating and prosecutors from introducing possession of condoms as evidence of intent to engage in prostitution-related offenses is currently pending before the New York State legislature and a resolution in support of the state bills is now before the City Council.
Last year Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who will assume leadership of the District Attorneys Association of New York State next month, became the first to issue a policy that her office would no longer introduce possession of condoms as evidence in any prostitution-related cases, including sex trafficking cases.
Recently, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes instructed the New York City Police Department to stop collecting condoms as evidence in prostitution cases. Anti-trafficking advocates, civil and human rights groups, LGBT organizations, immigrants' rights groups and advocates for the rights of individuals in the sex trades are calling on the NYPD to comply with DA Hynes' request, and on city and state lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure that all New Yorkers can protect themselves by carrying condoms.