Sex worker groups are celebrating the historic vote at the California Victims Compensation Board today to eliminate Regulation 649.56 “Involvement in the Qualifying Crime of Prostitution.” Rachel West of US Prostitutes Collective said, “ Our statewide campaign has garnered broad based support including the ACLU. We are thrilled that Board recognized the public sentiment that this regulation has no place in the Victims Compensation Program.”
The victim whose claim that was denied by the Victims Compensation Program which ignited the call to remove the discriminatory regulation said, “This campaign brought together other victims like me. For decades we have been alone in our struggle to gain recognition that sex workers can be raped and should have access to the public fund.”
Today’s meeting was well attended including members of the press. The 3 person Victims Compensation Board heard deeply moving testify about how victims have suffered. Chairwoman Marybel Batjer stated that she “found the testimony compelling and the regulation repugnant”. Board Member Ramos recognized that “we want to send a message that this Board is not going to stand for this.” Board members’ unanimous vote was met with applause.
Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Service Providers Union said “ this vote sets a important new president that sex workers will now be recognize as having equal protection under the law.”