Advocates for Sex Workers Send Open Letter to Allegheny District Attorney Stephen Zappala Opposing Criminalization of Condom Possession

The letter notes that criminalizing condoms “has a chilling effect on Pittsburghers' willingness to carry and use condoms, especially those who are most vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS and other STIs including women and men of color, LGBTQ people, young people, victims of trafficking, and people in the sex trades.”


Dear District Attorney Zappala

The Sex Worker’s Outreach Project (SWOP) Pittsburgh is disappointed in the District Attorney Zappala’s response to the open letter we and several other organizations (including ACLU of Pennsylvania, Women's Law Project, #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania) opposing several practice that endanger the citizens of Allegheny County: 1.) police and prosecutors’ practice of citing condom possession as evidence of intent to engage in prostitution-related crimes, 2.) police seizure of condoms and other contraceptives, and 3.) the practice of adding the more severe possessing-instrument-of-crime (“PIC”) charges under 18 Pa.C.S. § 907 when defendants are charged with prostitution.

Collateral Damage: Aussies Impacted By US FOSTA/SESTA

The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) passed Congress and was signed into law by US President Donald Trump back in April. It was intended to target websites hosting ads for illegal sex services, such as Craigslist, Backpage and Cracker. But the same websites are used by legitimate, adult, consenting sex workers all over the world, including in Australia. Sex workers here were bracing for the impact of an effective ban on advertising, and for many the financial losses have surpassed their worst expectations.

Pa Sen. Bob Casey’s letter for Workers/Survivors to understand the FOSTA/SESTA facts

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio introduced S. 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, on August 1, 2017. The legislation amends Section 230 to ensure that those who run sites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held accountable for their actions in civil or criminal court. Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri introduced H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on April 3, 2017. This bill imposes criminal penalties on a person who facilitates sex trafficking in interstate commerce.