About Abuse

Forced Prostitution

Updated: 
September 1, 2016

Can a person in prostitution be raped?

Yes.  When a person says “No,” it means no – it doesn’t matter if s/he is a prostituted person or not.  Even if s/he agrees to do one sexual act, if the john forces him/her to do a different sexual act against his/her will, that is still rape.  Prostituted people are much more likely to be raped than non-prostituted people.  A national study in 2011 found that nearly 1 out of every 5 women in the U.S. has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.1  In comparison, an earlier study (in 1990) found that about 80% of women in prostitution have been the victim of a rape and that prostituted women are raped, on the average, eight to ten times per year2 – although the numbers may be different if this study were done today.

1National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, Center for Disease Control (2011)
2 Susan Kay Hunter and K.C. Reed, July, 1990 "Taking the side of bought and sold rape," speech at National Coalition against Sexual Assault, Washington, D.C.