Violence against prostitutes has occurred worldwide, both through physical as well as psychological forms. The victims are predominantly women, in extreme cases these acts have lead to their murder while in their workplace.
The danger to prostitutes does not come only from pimps, but from customers and police as well. A 1981 study in New York found that 70% of prostitutes had been raped. Murder is also a serious problem, with more than 200 prostitutes being killed a year, giving a risk of about four times that of women in general. The police are largely negligent in helping prostitutes and undercover vice officers often feel free to insult and roughly handle the prostitutes they arrest, with the physical abuse ranging from tightly handcuffed hands being pulled roughly up in the back, to outright beatings and kickings. The verbal abuse ranges from specific insults about the individual prostitute's body to taunting about the potential for the police officer to get free sex with no one the wiser, to suggestions that the prostitute give the sheriff sexual favours in order to be released from gaol. Most prostitutes accept this abuse as part of the job, and so the few accounts that surface must be seen to be symptoms of a much larger problem.