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Shocking: Sex Workers Are Being Prosecuted for Carrying Condoms

A lot of sex workers are afraid to carry condoms because they could face arrest, but many do so anyway because they don't want to put themselves at risk of contracting HIV.

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Back on the streets of Hunts Point, Canales directed the van onto the Grand Concourse and headed toward 192 Street and Jerome Avenue, a well-known transgender stroll. He was forced to halt the van when a fight erupted in the middle of Mt Eden Avenue near Townsend Avenue. Thirty teenagers blocked traffic while five women attacked one another, jeered on by their peers. According to Rosas, violence is a given.

“You see some pretty heinous shit at night,” she said. “I’ve definitely, during outreach, seen one of the girls get stabbed.”

Canales recalled feeling helpless when he saw violent pimps on the street and described one instance when he saw a pimp punch a woman in the face. Rosas carries a knife when she performs outreach, just in case.


Around 2am, Canales spotted another familiar face at 128 Street and Third Avenue in Harlem and pulled the van over. The young Latina woman looked stricken as she shook her head no and waved the van off. As Canales drove away, Rosas pointed out the woman’s pimp, who was standing nearby in the shadows, as well as two cop cars, which were parked halfway down the block.

Canales circled the block. When he passed the intersection again, the cop cars had moved to the corner. The flashing red and blue lights lit up the street as the policemen handcuffed the couple.

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