California could soon provide free tattoo removals for former prostitutes. The state already helps former gang members with removals.
The author of the AB 1956, Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, says the bill will help prostitutes with "their self-esteem by removing the marks," and the bill "will help society by helping them start fresh."
If the bill is passed, the state would help people like Krystal Lopez.
She has the name of her former pimp, The General, tattooed on her neck.
The tattoo marks her as his slave, a permanent reminder of her life selling herself.
Her mother is a drug addict, her father beat her and at age 12, she found work on the streets.
Three years later, she got the tattoo. Lopez says she was "definitely brainwashed. Definitely. For a very long time."
But Lopez was one of the lucky ones. After a brief encounter in jail, one organization gave Lopez a part time job and tattoo removal treatments.
Lopez says pimps brainwash the prostitutes to think that as long as their name is on them, they are theirs.
She hopes the bill will pass so that other woman can start the process of moving on with their lives.
She has gotten her tattoo mostly removed, and this summer, she got a new distinction - she's now a high school graduate.