Scott Shackford
December 12, 2013

The 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.

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