Gender Inequalities in Prostitution Related Arrests

The graphs below illustrate the gender divide in prostitution related arrests among men and women in Massachusetts. This divide peaks in 2013 in the city of Worcester, where 157 women were arrested while only 14 johns received the same legal consequence.


Lack of Representation: Sex workers generally not included in public discourse

“A lot of the girls don’t feel safe speaking for themselves, so sometimes those voices are lost and people speak for them.” – Tina (Survivor)

Violence Against Sex Workers: Lack of transparency often leads to exploitation

  “I thought that I was going to lose my life because he had the knife pressing upside my throat….. There was so much anger that I heard in that man’s voice that I never thought I was gonna make it out of that car.” – Adore (Survivor)

Economic Dependency: Sex workers often rely on prostitution for their income

“Sometimes it’s about paying your rent to keep a roof over head.” –Adore (Survivor)

Storytelling and Representation 

There has been a recent surge of initiatives focused on sharing sex worker’s stories as a way to challenge representations of their identity. The Red Umbrella Project, based in New York City, has been a particularly success project focused on storytelling and sex workers. To find out more about their initiatives, please visit