When a condom is labeled an "instrument of crime" by law enforcement, law enforcement becomes an instrument of disease transmission. The recent news that police in Allegheny County, in which the city of Pittsburgh is located, are adding charges to the arrests of commercial sex workers if they are found to possess condoms is almost incredible. It illustrates just how backward and misguided the Puritanical war on prostitution is. Such actions compound the injustice that occurs each time consenting adults are arrested for a crime in which there are no victims and no violations of individual rights -- except for the ones violated by the arresting officers.
To penalize a commercial sex worker for possessing condoms -- a sign of mindfulness regarding risks inherent in the profession -- does nothing except discourage the use of condoms and facilitate the spread of sexually transmitted infections -- an incontrovertible fact. When sexually transmitted infections increase further in the area it will be important to see how much such insane policies as this one contributed.