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California aids sex workers who report crimes, use condoms

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 20:44:27-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new California law will protect sex workers from arrest if they report crimes or are caught with condoms.

Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco says his bill is the first in the nation to provide such health and safety protections.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure into law on Tuesday, but SB233 will take effect in January.

It protects workers from arrest for misdemeanor-level sex-related crimes if they report that they are victims or witnesses to serious or violent felonies, such as rape.

It also bars police and prosecutors from using condoms as evidence that a suspect is engaged in sex work.

Wiener said current law deters sex workers from reporting crimes or protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, for fear they will be arrested.