Last week, TribLive
discovered police officers in Allegheny County have been designating condoms as "an instrument of crime" in more than a dozen prostitution cases last year. The revelation has drawn criticism from several social justice groups and local defense attorneys. Some jurisdictions, like New York City and California, have even outlawed or restricted the practice since it can encourage unsafe sex.
And today, Pittsburgh's branch of the Sex Workers Outreach Project
, is hoping to educate people about the potential issues of Allegheny County's condom-criminalization practices.
"Pittsburgh SWOP believes this practice to be a serious public health issue, disincentivizing safer sex practices among some of Pittsburgh's most vulnerable populations," wrote Jessie Sage of SWOP in a press release. "Moreover, it threatens the capacity of local harm reduction organizations to carry out their important public mission."
Pittsburgh SWOP hopes the forum will provide a chance for people to speak freely about how these policies affect those in the sex-worker industry and other locals. The press release says SWOP is hoping the forum can start to build a coalition " committed to prioritizing safety" and ending the condom-criminalization polices in Allegheny County.
The forum will be help at today, June 11, at 7 p.m. Contact Pittsburgh SWOP at swop.pittsburgh [at] gmail [dot] com to find out more information about location.