A new measure in California will prevent sex workers from being arrested if they report that they were the victim of or witness to assault, domestic violence, extortion, human trafficking, sexual battery, stalking. The statute applies if the individual reporting the offense was engaged in prostitution-related activity at or around the time they were subject to or saw criminal behavior.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in July of 2019, but it won’t take effect until January of 2020. This is the first such statute to be passed in the U.S.
In addition to protections from reporting crimes, the new law will also prohibit condoms from being used as evidence in a prostitution case. Also, if an individual has any amount of condoms on their person, that cannot be used as probable cause to make an arrest.
The bill was introduced as a way to increase safety for sex workers. Currently, if a person is engaged in an act of prostitution, and they report an offense, they could be arrested for committing a sex crime. Around 60% of sex workers are victims of violence, but few tell authorities for fear of being punished themselves. Not only do they continue to suffer abuse, but the perpetrator may not face consequences for their actions. At a press release, Gov. Newsom said that the law will ensure crimes are rightfully reported to the police.
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Being convicted of a sex crime such as prostitution could have serious consequences on your life. You could face jail time and fines, affecting your freedoms. Our team has over 40 years of experience, and we have an in-depth understanding of the law. We will fight relentlessly to protect your rights and work toward getting charges reduced or dropped.