Report: Police Aggression in New Orleans Contributing to HIV/AIDS Rate

Prostitution laws are being arbitrarily enforced


A new report from Human Rights Watch finds that Louisiana's AIDS death rate is more than double the national average—and it places a large share of the blame with the New Orleans Police Department. The report, "In Harm's Way," accuses New Orleans police of harassing suspected sex workers so aggressively that they have undermined efforts by public health workers to treat HIV/AIDS patients.

The problem stems from the police force's arbitrary enforcement of the crime of "loitering for prostitution," an offense so vaguely defined, the report says, "that it permits police to consider a wide range of behavior to be grounds for arrest, including where people are, what they are wearing, and what they may have done in the past."

(H/T Charles WT)