Boston Police Speak Out About Sex Trafficking


This week, the film Pretty Woman turned 25. As many celebrated the popular romantic comedy, Donna Gavin, head of the Boston Police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, offered a reality check.

“Let me assure you that the tale that unfolds in ‘Pretty Woman’ is fiction,” says Gavin. The reality is far different. Pimps are often violent criminals with histories of rape, assault, drug, and firearm convictions. Women in prostitution are 40 times more likely to be homicide victims and almost three-quarters of them will experience violent, physical assault. The women being bought and sold are often homeless and suffering from addiction or disease, not to mention emotional trauma. There is nothing glamorous about prostitution, despite what this film might have us think.

Because of this Gavin is taking a different approach to celebrating this anniversary. Gavin will be working with the Cities Engaged Against Sexual Exploitation (“CEASE”) Boston Team that was announced by Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Evans recently. CEASE works to connect “local survivors of prostitution, criminal justice professionals, policy makers, business leaders, and concerned citizens with the shared goal of reducing illegal sex-buying by 20 percent in our communities.” You can read Gavin’s full statements here and learn more about CEASE here.

We are so proud to work with My Life My Choice in the fight against sex trafficking and we’re happy to see the anniversary of this film sparking a discussion about what prostitution really means.

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