Despite the hard work of activists, it is still legal for cops to use condoms as evidence of prostitution. But the slow wheels of Albany finally seem on the verge of turning, as legislators are pushing a bill forward that would finally prohibit condoms from being used as any sort of evidence of illegal conduct. "Sex workers are more likely victims than they are criminals, and condom evidence was rarely of any value to a prosecution," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "If you need that condom so badly in the case against a trafficker, then you don't have a good case."

The bill has been kicking around for several years now. Last year, then-Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes said his office would not use condoms as evidence, and he sent a letter to then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly asking that his officers stop collecting them in raids. Traditionally the NYPD has opposed the bill; on Friday, they said in a statement they would take a look at its policy of using condoms as evidence.

By all accounts, sex workers are loath at times to carry condoms and risk having it used against them: "There may be no actual evidence, and the condom is their only way to trying to prove it," Hawk Kinkaid, a former male escort who now advocates on their behalf in NYC, told the AP. "The fear that this will be used against you—it prevents people from being able to protect themselves."

The legislation has already passed the Assembly, and advocates told the AP they are optimistic the Senate will do so as well soon after it reconvenes this month. Of course, the Senate has been known to dodge controversial issues like this.