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California prostitutes win victim compensation

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 2:00 p.m. CDT
Sex worker Kristen D'Angelo (facing) hugs sex worker activist Carol Leigh at a meeting with others who claim that the California Victims Compensation Board discriminates against sex workers by denying them benefits after having been raped in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials have voted to allow prostitutes to receive money from a victim compensation fund if they have been raped or beaten.

The vote by the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board on Thursday changes a 1990s-era anti-crime regulation.

The rule had excluded prostitutes from the list of people who could be reimbursed for medical costs and related expenses if they were harmed during violent crimes, because their activities are illegal.

Chairwoman Marybel Batjer called the rule "repugnant" and said "rape is rape, period."

The three-member board voted unanimously to end California's status as the only state with such a prohibition.

The board heard testimony from several sex workers who said they have been assaulted on the job.

It will take several months to formally repeal the regulation.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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