Criminalising Condoms: how policing practices put sex workers and HIV services at risk in Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

Acacia Shields
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'Criminalising Condoms' details the experiences of sex workers and outreach services across six countries (Kenya, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States). It finds that where any degree of criminalisation exists (whether of sex workers themselves, or of activities relating to sex work), condoms are used as evidence of sex work. This forces sex workers to choose between carrying safer sex supplies, thus attracting the deleterious attentions of the police, or working without condoms in the hope that the police will refrain from harassment - but also without the supplies that would protect them from HIV.

The report notes that sex workers are knowledgeable and committed to condom use to protect themselves and their clients, but frequently hindered from taking the best precautions by law enforcement agents. The report examines some of the ways in which the attentions of the police - predicated on gathering evidence of sex work, i.e condoms - play out, for example in terms of condoms as a justification for arrest. The report also discusses the violence that sex workers are subjected to by the police, and how the threat of arrest is used as leverage to extort sexual services or money.

'Criminalising Condoms' also details the harrassment that service outreach workers face in distributing condoms, including the threat of arrest and physical violence, and the way that police locate sex workers to target - for harrasment, or worse - by following outreach workers.

The report concludes with a series of detailed recommendations for governments, service providers, and law enforcement agents, focusing on working towards the full decriminalisation of sex work, and improved HIV prevention education for those working with sex workers - particularly, the police.

You can download this 36 page PDF resource above.

This resource is in English.