Publication Date

Spring 5-7-2013

Abstract and Research Question

How do Police Officer perceptions influence how sex workers are treated in the legal system?

This research study explored the relationship between Worcester police officers’ perceptions of sex workers and their interactions with them. This study also explored the complexities of Worcester’s legal system in collaboration with Worcester Department of Health’s Task Force on prostitution. This was an exploratory study using the chain-referral method, semi-structured interviews and participant observations. The research includes interviews with participants from the legal system and the police department, as well as a former sex worker. Findings show that while police officers’ opinions may vary, these personal perceptions do not affect how police officers do their jobs. Sex workers are often not arrested for charges of prostitution, but for drug-related charges.


Sex Worker, Worcester, Police, Prostitution, Legal System, Sexually Exploited Women

Did the research upon which this submission is based involve human subjects/participants?


If yes, did the research receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval?


When did the project/research take place?


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