The Voice Investigates New York’s Condom Bait-and-Switch


New York City has a problem with condoms.

The artist, writer, and activist Molly Crabapple, whose work often explores the intersection of sex and politics, rocked the web yesterday with her VICE column, “New York Cops Will Arrest You For Carrying Condoms.”. In it, she highlights how the NYPD is using prophylactics as evidence to trigger arrests for prostitution. It’s not hard to imagine that this creates enormous problems (and risks), but despite the efforts of various organizations, the city has yet to change its policy.

The Voice‘s own reporter, Emily Gogolak, has been on the ground for the past three weeks investigating the paradox created by this policy, and the city’s own distribution of condoms through the Department of Health, and has found that New York’s condom problem is greater–and more convoluted–than has been previously explored. For example, the city launched an app that uses GPS technology to locate and give directions to the nearest venues that distribute free NYC Condoms. These condoms–wrapped in packaging embossed with the city’s name–are often then used as proof of prostitution by the police.

Who is this helping? Our feature — which is slated to run in print next week — asks that very question.


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