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Penelope Saunders and Jennifer Kirby

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Move Along: Community-based Research into the Policing of Sex Work in Washington, D.C.

In 2006, Washington, D.C., enacted wide-ranging new laws that further criminalized street- and place-based sex work. Community members documented the effects of the new and pre-existing policies via a community-based research project in 2007. The research revealed a widespread and entrenched pattern of abuse and mistreatment by police of people they profile as sex workers. Almost all 111 people surveyed had been approached by police, and the majority reported negative experiences including humiliation, verbal abuse, extortion, strip search, assault, and confiscation of safe sex supplies. The research also documents patterns of discrimination by police based on gender identity, ethnicity and age.

sex work, gentrification, policing, marginalized communities

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 37, No. 1 (2010-11): 107-127.

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