Police agencies across King County collectively arrested more men last year for patronizing a prostitute than they arrested women on prostitution charges, offering the first statistical indications of a countywide effort to shift responsibility for the sex trade onto the men who fund it.
“For the last five years, we’ve seen a pretty significant disproportionality,” with far more women involved in prostitution arrested than men who pay them for sex, said King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Val Richey.
Countywide, “2014 was the first year patronizing charges outpaced prostitution charges — and they did it in a big way,” Richey said of local police agencies.
In the seven months since the Buyer Beware launch, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said he’s seen an important “course correction,” with police now arresting more men on patronizing charges while arresting fewer women on prostitution charges.
But the effort is not just about busting sex buyers. A new, 10-week intervention program is also seeing early success in helping men examine their attitudes about sexuality and their motivations for paying prostituted women and girls for sex, Satterberg and Richey said.
Historically, women involved in prostitution have been arrested at a
rate 10 times higher than the men who paid them for sex, according to