Calif. to Open Victim Compensation Funds to Prostitutes

No still means no, thoughThe growing trend of treating
prostitutes as though they’re victims of sex-trafficking even when
they aren’t is paternalistic and often forces women into mandatory
“treatments,” unwilling to acknowledge a person’s free choice to
engage in sex work.
Cathy Reisenwitz detailed in October
how this shift of treating
prostitutes as victims rather than criminals doesn’t necessarily
result in more freedom or better lives for the women forced to
participate in order to avoid criminal charges.

On the other hand, the growing trend of treating prostitutes as
though they’re victims rather than criminals can result in
prostitutes being able to turn to the state for help when they
truly are victimized. California has a Victim Compensation and
Government Claims Board that, among other things, helps pay for medical treatment
and certain losses that are directly connected to a crime. For
example, a woman who has been sexually assaulted can turn to the
agency to help pay for medical and mental health treatment to
recover from the crime.

The laws, though, exempt victims who were involved in illegal
activities at the time, such as prostitution. A prostitute who was
raped could not turn to the state for assistance with health care

Today the agency voted to change that rule. The Sacramento


California’s three-member Victim Compensation and Government
Claims Board voted unanimously Thursday to overturn a regulation
barring victims of sexual assault from receiving restitution if
they work in the sex trade.

The 14-year-old policy states that victims of a violent crime
may be denied compensation if they were involved in the events
leading up to that crime, including mutual combat, illegal
drug-related activity, gang-related activity and prostitution.

Advocates for sex workers argued that the regulation was
discriminatory, essentially blaming prostitutes for their own rape
and putting other women at greater risk of attack.

Of course, the change comes at the speed of government. The new
policy probably won’t be in place until next spring.

from Hit & Run

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