http://www.alternet.org/story/16406/sex_workers_and_civil_rights says:

Meanwhile similar results -- rampant violence, harassment, substance abuse, health and housing problems -- were documented in a Chicago study released in 2001 by the Center for Impact Research. That study found 1,800 to 4,000 girls and women are involved in on- or off- street prostitution activities in Chicago in any given year, along with about 11,500 people who trade sex for drugs. These numbers -- comparable in other major cities -- show that the mistreatment of sex workers is a significant national civil and human rights situation that affects thousands and thousands of women (and men) and by extension their children or other family members.

The CIR study showed that 21.4 percent of women working as escorts had been raped 10 times or more, with comparable rates for other types of sex work. Meanwhile the rapes, beatings and other abuses male and female sex workers suffer are rarely prosecuted.

Is it true?

  • 3
    Do you merely doubt that such a study exists - and just want us to send you a link to the study to prove it - or do you doubt the number is accurate, and want us to use whatever evidence we can find?
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 10, 2016 at 9:16

1 Answer 1



The research was performed and published by the Center for Impact Research, which is no longer in operation (Their web-site is empty web-site).

The report was titled Sisters Speak Out: The Lives and Needs of Prostituted Women in Chicago: A Research Study, by Jody Raphael and Deborah L. Shapiro.

On page 18, in Table 1. Percentage of Women Experiencing Frequent Violence in Prostitution, they document the results of a survey. A total of 28 female escorts were surveyed, and 21.4% (i.e. 6 of 28) reported having experienced "Forced Sex" more than 10 times.

Note: It was published in August 2002, not 2001 as reported above.

It does not appear to have appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. Surveys are of limited accuracy. Small surveys even more so, and reporting the figure to three significant figures, without error bars, may give the wrong impression about the accuracy of the result.

The authors published a similar sounding article in 2004 in Violence Against Women, called Violence in Indoor and Outdoor Prostitution Venues. I haven't been able to confirm if they repeat the claim in that work.

  • 4
    You may want to point out the problems with the study (aside from extremely small sample size you mentionedm there is also high likelihood of non-representation; as well as high likelihood of invalid answers in either direction, this being a survey on an extremely sensitive topic). There's also probably survivorship bias - chances are those who left the profession may have had different rates of assault than those who stayed.
    – user5341
    Dec 10, 2016 at 15:06
  • @user5341: I agree with your assessment. I did point out the "limited accuracy" of a survey. But see my comment on the question: it is asking if the study existed, not if the claim is accurate. I generally prefer the other sort of question, because... I dunno, it seems to be more about learning the basic truth than trying to catch someone in a lie.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 12, 2016 at 2:53

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