Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Elizabeth L. Jeglic

Second Reader

Jessica Kovler

Third Advisor

Aditi Bhattacharya


This study explores how sex workers in the United States are sexually victimized and potentially traumatized by sexual violence perpetrated by police officers, as well as the paradoxical implications of this violence. A qualitative meta-synthesis was conducted to examine and integrate qualitative literature pertaining to this phenomenon. 10 databases were used to execute the systematic literature search. Only studies that utilized qualitative methodologies, are published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and examined police-sex worker interactions were included. Data from relevant studies was analyzed according to the meta-synthesis method. Police-perpetrated sexual violence against sex workers was identified as a form of sexual traumata. This sexual traumata was defined by sexual coercion/exploitation, police dehumanizing sex workers, and intimidation by police. Police-perpetrated sexual violence against sex workers ultimately represents a contradiction to purportedly trauma-focused, carceral approaches to sex work.



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