Help Ex-Prostitutes Remove Marks of Former Pimps

Target: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino

Goal: Allow federally-funded tattoo removal for ex-prostitutes who were branded by their former pimps

Many prostitutes in California who have broken free of the lifestyle still retain the tattoos that marked them as property of their former pimps. Some of these tattoos are prominent, gang-related, and they all remind ex-prostitutes of a time they’d rather distance themselves from. Now, several non-profit tattoo removal services are helping these ex-prostitutes erase the marks with laser tattoo removal, but former gang members take priority, and ex-prostitutes often find themselves on a long waiting list.

One ex-prostitute isolated herself for months until she was able to have her prominent facial tattoo removed because she was afraid that the gang she had been affiliated with would attack her. Distant from the lifestyle and with her own freedom, she was still unable to enjoy it due to her tattoo.

Now Assemblyman Anthony Portantino is trying to get a bill passed through California Legislature that would expand the pool of people eligible for state-facilitated, federally-funded tattoo removal services to include those tattooed for identification in human trafficking or prostitution. He believes that prostitutes who start new lives and get away from their pimps do not deserve to keep the mark of someone who treated them as property for the rest of their lives.

By signing the petition below, you are telling Assemblyman Anthony Portantino that you support the bill to expand federally-funded tattoo removal to ex-prostitutes and other victims of human trafficking.


Dear Assemblyman Anthony Portantino,

The women and men who have escaped prostitution and other forms of human trafficking should not be forced into hiding, unable to enjoy the new freedom they have over their own lives, because of tattoos that identify them as property of their former pimps. The bill that you introduced into California Legislature would change all that for these victims of human trafficking.

I am asking you to continue to support your bill, and do everything possible to make this happen. The people who have left that lifestyle should not continue to be punished for mistakes they made as a teenager, or for being forced or coerced into that lifestyle. I support this bill, and I ask you to continue your support as well.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. I am the founder of Survivor’s Ink and wanted to show you this project. I have some funds available for this project but I am trying to get the word out to raise funds and let these women know that there is help out there and they don’t have to live with the psychological chains of brandings. I am a formally branded human trafficking victim myself and can testify how getting my tattoos covered up has changed my life and allowed me to reclaim my body. Please feel free to contact us by email or on the website for information or to have an application for full scholarship for tattoo coverup or removal sent to you.

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