Decriminalizing Sex Work Decreases Rape

Oct 20, 2023

The Cato Institute has published a research brief confirming that decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution decreases rape. Prohibiting sex work, either through direct criminalization or end demand laws, significantly increases reported rapes.

The brief is based on staggered legal changes of prostitution policy in 31countries from 1990 – 2017. Data shows that countries that reduced criminalization restricting prostitution on average saw 3 fewer reported r*apes out of 100,000 people. Countries that prohibited prostitution or criminalized clients saw an increase of 11 reported rapes per 100,000 people.

Learn More: Do Prostitution Laws Affect Rape Rates? Evidence from Europe