'Detained for carrying condoms, sexy undies'
A WOMAN claims she was detained by US border officials three times in two weeks and accused of being a sex worker for having condoms and "racy underwear" in her luggage.
University of British Columbia graduate Clay Nikiforuk (a pseudonym) wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the "baffling" series of events that occurred as she travelled through the US with a married man.
"What do you do when you're detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary 'evidence' is held against you, and you're treated like a moral deviant? And what if it's 2013, you're a woman, and the "evidence" is that you possess condoms?" asked Nikiforuk in a book on the sociology of sexual assault.
Nikiforuk said she was first held by border guards in Vermont in March, where her bag was searched "at least five times". She had approximately eight condoms in her suitcase and underwear.
"I could not help but notice how often my lingerie and 'sexy underwear' were mentioned, how often the condoms they found were looked upon scathingly, and how most of the four male officers' questions pertained to both," she said.
"I was like, 'Yeah, some girls like shoes, I like nice underwear', and then realised it was really not funny. They were taking it very seriously… and looking at my condoms and counting them.
"I was baffled as to why this was any of their business and unsure of what their objective was."
She was eventually granted a limited two-week visa, but she'd missed her bus and plane by that time so had to wait until the next morning to continue her journey.
Two weeks later she alleged Montreal Airport officials took her into a back office and interrogated her about the man she was travelling with.
During the questioning she admitted the man was married and she was planning on sharing a hotel bed with him. Nikiforuk was forced to tell the official that the man's wife "doesn't want to know the details, but she knows" about their affair.
"The next thing I knew he was searching my bags, pulling out condoms and waving them in my face," she said.
"He said: 'I could have you charged with being a working girl! The proof is right here'."
She was asked: "How much is he paying you to go on this trip?". When she answered that she wasn't being paid, she was told off for participating in adultery and let go.
Next came Miami, where she claims she was detained, interrogated, fingerprinted, patted down and "yelled at" for eight hours and asked: "Are you looking to be sexually assaulted?" when she told the official she was writing a book on the sociology of sexual assault.
She has filed a complaint over the incident, claiming she was the victim of a sexist double standard.
US immigration lawyer Steve Goldstein told Canada's Metro News that he's never heard of someone being denied entry to the US because they were carrying condoms.
US Customs and Border Patrol told news.com.au they cannot comment due to privacy laws
"Due to privacy laws, US Customs and Border Protection is prohibited from discussing specific cases or individuals," a US Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson said. "CBP strives to treat all travellers with respect and in a professional manner, preserving the civil rights and civil liberties of all people with whom the officers and agents interact while maintaining the focus of our mission to protect all citizens and visitors in the United States.
"CBP stresses honour and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe."