SF Public Defender Worried Prostitutes Skip Condom Use Over Prosecution Fears

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A selection of condoms at a drug store. (William B. Plowman/Getty Images)

A selection of condoms at a drug store. (William B. Plowman/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)– San Francisco’s Public Defender Jeff Adachi is raising concerns about condoms being used as evidence in prostitution cases.

Specifically, Adachi said he’s worried that sex workers are being discouraged from engaging in safe sex if the city strays from a policy that bars condoms as evidence.

Back in 1994 during the AIDS crisis, the Board of Supervisors adopted a policy to encourage sex workers to use condoms. It said condoms could not be used as evidence in prostitution cases. But fast forward to 2012, where the public defender has said he’s had at least three cases in the past three weeks where photographs of condoms were used as evidence to prosecute prostitutes.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

“If a sex worker knows that they are more likely to be prosecuted for prostitution if they have a condom on their person, they’re not going to use and carry them,” Adachi said.

The problem was first raised last month in a report by Human Rights Watch. The District Attorney’s office said few prostitution arrests end up in court and no one is prosecuted for having a condom.

“The fact that there aren’t as many prostitution cases as there were say 10 or 15 years ago doesn’t mean that they’re not happening,”Adachi said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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