The Demographics of the Sex Trade


Who is buying sex in our community?

In Seattle, there are over 100 websites where sex is sold, and thousands of ads on those sites. Arrest data collected between 2014–2017 in King County paints a stark picture of a local buyer.

Educational background of King County Sex Buyers

61% of local sex buyers have above-average education—compared to the 48% King County average.

Race/Ethnic Breakdown of King County Sex Buyers

80% of local sex buyers are white—King County is 64.8% white.

Gender breakdown of King County Sex Buyers

100% of local sex buyers are male. In a sample of over 400 arrests, all of them were male.

So now we’re talking about men, who are educated, from every [employment] sector, who are white. And when you take all of that and put it together… what you’re also talking about is a real system that values power and privilege over vulnerability.
— Val Ritchie, Former King County Prosecutor


“I told him to stop, and I left, and I was crying.”

Becky’s Story

By the time she had reached her late 30s, Becky was ready to leave her abusive relationship—but not the sex trade. She continued to trade sex for money and security, all the while growing more and more wary of “the life” until she was 40. 

Becky is petite and looks young for her age. The last time she traded sex, she received a message through one of her online ads from a woman who was looking for an escort for her husband. “He’s really into your body type,” she said. When she met the man, he declared, “You look exactly like my daughter.”

She realized that she was there as a surrogate for a young girl—that this man was seeking sex with a minor—and this shook her deeply. 

She immediately told him to stop, left, and began the terrifying and insecure journey out of the sex trade for good. She pulled her ads off the internet and deleted her call logs with all of her recent clients. 

The Demographics of the Sex Trade

Locally, we have more data on youth in trafficking—but we can extrapolate that data to adults in the sex trade in our community—knowing that trafficked minors often grow up and remain in the sex trade.

The Demographics of the Sex Trade

Local anecdotal evidence suggests that trafficking among males and transgender individuals is severely underreported. 

Who does REST serve? 

REST serves individuals of all ages and genders who have been trafficked or involved in the sex trade. 

We are currently taking a proactive approach to ensure our staff reflects the demographics we serve, creating a comfortable, culturally sensitive, responsive environment for all clients.

REST Demographics: Race and Gender

*Chart based on voluntarily disclosed ethnicity information. 20% of clients who disclosed their ethnicity also identified as multiracial.

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