“Rachel” is an Alaskan sex worker who was victimized by one police officer after she inadvertently got caught up in a bigger undercover police sting operation, writes Sirin Kale. After having sex with her, the officer told her to take the money he’d put on the table. She was wary and declined, saying she’d had sex with him for pleasure, not work. He smiled, Rachel told Kale, and told her she had essentially congratulated her for making the right move. She left without taking the money.
“In many US states, it is technically legal for undercover cops to have sex with sex workers during the course of anti-prostitution sting operations. Advocates argue this is nothing less than institutional rape,” says Kale.
Dr. Alexandra Lutnick, who conducted a study in San Francisco, found that over 14 percent of sex workers said that they had been threatened with arrest unless they agreed to have sex with an officer, while two percent report being arrested anyway, after having sex, reports Kale.
Lutnik, an expert on the US sex industry points out that police “having sex with sex workers during the course of undercover operations has been in existence as long as selling sex has been a criminal offense.” Unfortunately, the practice is not technically illegal in many states and only reinforces the insidious myth of an ‘unrapeable’ sex worker.