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Disposable Sex Worker

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Archer: Oh my god, you killed a hooker!
Cyril: Call girl! She was a—
Archer: No, Cyril! When they're dead, they're just hookers!

A subtrope of Sex Signals Death which specifically guns after ladies of the night. Want to stress how depraved and vicious your killer is? Have him — it's almost always a man — target and/or kill a few sex workers — and they are nearly always women — to drive home the fact. Maybe it's because walking the streets is a dangerous occupation and the ladies involved tend to make easier targets for weirdos. Maybe it's because sex workers are sometimes viewed as Acceptable Targets. Maybe the prostitutes are killed because they know something they shouldn't, or a villain thinks they do. Or maybe it's just easy shorthand to let people know there's a Serial Killer loose out there, but the sex industry tends to have a high percentage of casualties when it comes to this kind of thing. And they will nearly always be forgotten by the story eventually.

This is, in some ways, a Truth in Television. Prostitution (especially of the street-walking variety) carries with it a certain amount of danger by its nature, as the ladies occupy a gray area in society outside of the law, often being ignored both by the law and society at large as a result, and must by necessity place their trust in strangers whose intentions may not be benign. Simple practicality on the killer's part is often a factor: prostitutes do, after all, make their living by accompanying clients to places of the Johns' choosing, without drawing witnesses' or authorities' attention to their rendezvous. In all too many cases, women in the sex industry may be a Real Life Serial Killer's first/only victims.note 

In many cases regarding their depiction, however, there is an unfortunate sense that the ladies in question are being somewhat... dehumanized in the process. The unfortunate ladies who fall victim to the killer are rarely given any kind of character outside of their profession. If they are lucky, we'll learn their name(s), and if the producers really want to hammer it home how far they're fallen we'll probably get some sense of their home life (which will no doubt contain some kind of drug addiction, abuse, or even a child raised in poverty). They will usually be a vaguely formed Hooker with a Heart of Gold at best, someone with a conveniently tragic reason to be targeted by a serial killer.

Sometimes we don't even get that; we just get a string of nameless dead hookers. There can also be a sense that these women have it coming or somehow deserve what happens to them because of their circumstances; the detectives involved may be dismissive or even contemptuous towards the victims and the other women in the same position because of their profession. This can be especially glaring if the killer then targets a woman who is not a prostitute. Whereas the victims from the sex industry may be casually dismissed as victims who "had it coming," the non-sex worker victim will be treated as an innocent whose death is a tragedy and must be avenged. Similarly, if a dead woman is mistaken for a sex worker, then her death might be initially dismissed, only for everyone to pick up and work their damned hardest to solve the case once it's revealed that she's actually an 'innocent'.

The Disposable Sex Worker has an odd mixed relationship with Missing White Woman Syndrome. On one hand, they're mutually exclusive due to sex-worker victims not being "wholesome" ladies (especially if they're minorities compared to a white "normal" victim). But on the other hand, male and transgender female sex workers are almost never given mention in fiction or real life, despite being just as likely or even more so to be victims of violent crime, but with authorities and the general public even less likely to care.

Disposable Vagrant is often the male counterpart. Contrast like hell with Platonic Prostitution and Unproblematic Prostitution.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Snev, the cyborg protagonist of Battle Angel Alita side story Ashen Viktor, is best friends with a prostitute who decides to steal his manager's special briefcase after he uses her services, as she suspects its contents have something to do with Snev's bad Motorball performance. She gets brutally killed when the briefcase's real owner (and the manager's co-conspirator) sicks an assassin on her to retrieve it before she tells someone what's inside.
  • As dark and gritty and unfit for women to thrive in as the world of Berserk puts it, the story remarkably averts this with its sex workers.
  • Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight!: Discussed in chapter 24. Dr. Ikezaki Gensuke is able to legally get away with beating up Leia because the police don't care about a prostitute being put in the hospital by one of her johns, and the yakuza don't care because he pays them to look the other way. Misora and Kurisu take matters into their own hands.
  • This happens really a lot in the world of Eden: It's an Endless World!. Sometimes sex workers have names and some dialogue, sometimes they are introduced only to be killed off in the next panel, sometimes they are found already dead in the vicinity of an assassination target. This is often done to show the sheer amount of human collateral damage that occurs whenever the manga's cast members fight each other, and to emphasize how often they don't seem to care about it happening. This becomes very clear as one of the first kills Kenji performs "on-screen" are two young prostitutes that were simply in the mansion the team raided during one of its operations. And they did beg for their lives, much to Kenji's utter indifference.
  • In the first volume of the Kingdom Hearts manga, Sora is propositioned by a random woman heavily implied to be a prostitute once he first arrives in Traverse Town. Not even a second later, a Heartless takes her heart to demonstrate to Sora just what it is the Heartless are capable of.
  • In Knight Hunters, Yohji befriends a Hooker with a Heart of Gold named Maki... but since the Kritiker guys all suffer from Cartwright Curse, the poor girl ends up murdered by her pimp (who doubles as the episode's villain) for helping him. Yohji makes very sure that the pimp pays for it.
  • The Reverend Kasuga hires three prostitutes as part of a gambit in Ōoku: The Inner Chambers and has them all killed to keep it a secret.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Yumi teamed up with Big Bad Makoto Shishio because the Meiji government declared that geishas and courtesans like herself were worth little more than cattle. Shishio, in his own warped way, was one of the only people who valued Yumi as a human being. When she tries to stop Kenshin and Shishio's fight, he stabs through her - but Yumi welcomed it since it meant she could finally help him in battle. Shishio pays respects by holding her in his arms until she dies, and soon they're Together in Death.
    • Yumi's backstory is the center of the To rule flame prequel, and Yumi's best friend and fellow prostitute Hanabi is bloodily murdered, much to Yumi's anger. When the owner of the brothel doesn't give a crap about Hanabi's death and the kidnapping of two little girls that Yumi is also friends with, Yumi offers herself to Shishio as his Dark Mistress in exchange for punishment for the culprit.
  • Inverted in Tokyo Ghoul:Re, with Arc Villain Mayu, better known as Nutcracker. A beautiful and sadistic ghoul, she works as a Dominatrix in a hardcore S&M club and uses her job to hunt for victims.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • In one story, Lex Luthor artificially inseminates a prostitute with a perfect copy of the reproductive DNA of a senator who is in the way of his latest scheme. He then waits until she gives birth to her daughter and murders her in order to frame the senator. If things had gone Luthor's way, the public would come to the conclusion that the senator had relations with a prostitute that produced a daughter and had the mother killed to hide them — completely discrediting him in the process. Batman, of course, manages to find a measure of justice for the murdered woman and clears the senator's name. The senator also earns Batman's respect when he decides to adopt the child despite her bizarre origin. Batman gets pissed off when Gordon refers to the woman as a "hooker" instead of her name.
    • In an issue of Catwoman, Selina finds out that prostitutes in Gotham are being killed, but because they're "only" hookers, no one is investigating. She starts to investigate and even convinces Batman to join in, knowing he cares about justice for everybody, including prostitutes.
  • Used from time to time in Diabolik, where sometimes we are shown Human Traffickers who aren't investigated by the police because their victims end up invariably as prostitutes and Ginko, who would have investigated, is swamped with multiple major investigations, including the one on the titular Villain Protagonist, and just doesn't have the chance unless he stumbles on them.
  • Averted in From Hell, in which the Ripper's victims are explored and fleshed out. One issue even directly compares the life of the Ripper and the life of one of his victims in the day before the two cross paths. From Hell is something of a deconstruction of this trope — it is made very plain that Victorian society doesn't regard the lives of sex workers very highly, and the comic explores the consequences of this. It's even dedicated to the real victims of Jack, by name.
  • Played with in a Judge Dredd story where a "serial killer" known as the Sex-Mek Slasher was going around carving up robotic prostitutes. Of course, this goes wrong when he mistakes a real hooker with a credit card slot implanted in her back so she can pass as a droid for a sex-mek. She survives the encounter and bemoans the fact that, as a real woman, she has to pass herself off as a droid in order to get work.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: My Favorite Redhead, Dick Van Von and Natasha Reich pick up a prostitute whom they use a Human Sacrifice to summon the demon Bifrons.
  • In the Death World of Ruins, Nick Fury's reduced to an insane survivalist with a Lack of Empathy. After going on a tirade about how things were supposed to be different, he guns down a prostitute Jean Grey and blows up a passing car before blowing his brains out.
  • Sachs & Violens: The models killed in the Snuff Films were recruited with the belief that they were going to be making porn films. Their disappearance went mostly unnoticed, but one of them was a friend of J.J.'s, and thereby begins the plot.
  • The Sandman (1989): The Corinthian's first onscreen kill (so to speak) is a teenaged male prostitute of unknown origins, played for terror and sympathy. It's somewhat fanonical that these are his usual choice of victims, as he seems otherwise fairly indiscriminate about who he takes eyes from. Although the Corinthian will take eyes from just about anyone, given the chance, he only seems to target young boys. The only victims he goes after are male prostitutes and Jed.
  • Sin City:
    • Played straight and subverted by the first story "The Hard Goodbye", in which the death of a beautiful prostitute named Goldie in the opening pages kicks off the plot. It turns out that the killers targeted prostitutes because nobody cared about them, but Marv decides to bring down the entire operation to avenge Goldie since she showed him a little kindness.
    • The rest of the series mainly averts this. The girls of Old Town can typically take care of themselves and often carry very large firearms. It's also implied the cops don't investigate cases where the victim was a prostitute, precisely because they know the girls of Old Town will do it instead. In fact, the cops generally won't even go into Old Town; they've ceded the area to the girls, who police it quite ably themselves.
  • In Supreme Power, a whole bunch of prostitutes are killed, and have their arms ripped off as trophies, by Redstone. After a certain point, he started specifically going after prostitutes at the end of their rope, crack addicts turning tricks for $20 in the roughest part of town — girls whose disappearances wouldn't be noticed and who were expected to die soon anyway.
  • Vampirella: The New Monthly: A story focusing on Vampirella's friend Pantha has her meeting and befriending a porn star named Conny Lingus. Conny is raped and killed by one of the story's werewolf villains of the story. Pantha kills them in revenge.
  • Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia deals with this, but from the prostitute's perspective instead. The female lead's sister was tricked into the sex trade, raped, and hooked onto drugs. Her eventual death due to overdose is ignored by the police due to this trope. To twist the knife further, it's heavily implied Batman did not tried to investigate either, but when the prostitute's sister arrives to Gotham to get some payback? He hunts her down with a zeal typically shown only for people like the Joker, and he won't let the little problem that is fighting Wonder Woman get in the way.
  • Played with, with X-23. For all that her pimp, Zebra Daddy, goes on about how much he "loves" her and how important she is to him, he ultimately views her as property he can casually discard when she's no longer useful, obedient, or profitable. And while we never actually see any of the other girls he pimps for killed, it's made clear he views all of them this way when he puts out the eye of one of the prostitutes as punishment for something that wasn't her fault. When he finally catches up to Laura in the climax, Daddy remorselessly guns her down. Unfortunately for him she has a Healing Factor, and finally fights back to protect the group she's fallen in with. Needless to say, being a Tyke Bomb clone of Wolverine, she makes short work of him.
  • There was once a brothel in X-Men that advertised that all its workers were mutants. Naturally, it didn't even make it a full issue before anti-mutant extremists attacked it and killed all but one of the prostitutes.

    Fan Works 
  • Concerning a Drifter plays with this, as, tying into the Disposable Vagrant trope, girls held by Ryuuko's captors become this when the ring consider them no longer valuable, in which case, they're killed. Ryuuko escapes this fate, of course, however, as Satsuki finds out, from her notebook, she dreaded a "doctor's" visit after one encounter because it meant becoming this trope. The fact that it was an underground ring and Ryuuko being a vagrant further invokes this trope, as it means authorities wouldn't really be able to get involved because of the lack of evidence making them hard to track down. Likewise, this trope is further deconstructed as Ryuuko and the other victims weren't prostitutes/adult actresses initially, they were kidnapped and forced into it.
  • In The Victors Project, Boudicca kills a prostitute who was in bed with Tiberius, because she woke up while Boudicca was preparing to threaten him.
    Boudicca: Sorry about her. She woke up early. I'll buy you a new one.
  • Inverted in the prequel story from Vow of Nudity. There are twelve protagonists, all of whom meet in jail after being arrested for various crimes, and the prostitute is the only one to survive the story.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon: After sleeping with a hooker, Jeffrey Burr/Lord Kobra sends her to a snake pit so he can watch her be devoured for his amusement. Given the chamber is right next to his bedroom, it's implied he does this regularly.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deconstructed in American Nightmare (1983). The whole point of the film is that women in the sex industry are still human and do not deserve to die for being in it. Isabelle in particular serves as a reminder that they are all someone's loved ones and that their deaths affect those around them.
  • In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman abuses and eventually murders prostitutes. Fitting this trope, there's never any suggestion that these murders were investigated or taken seriously by the police. While it makes sense for the streetwalker, at least some of the ones he hired were through escort agencies, making it very easy to track him down if they bothered. However, this may be because he didn't actually kill any of them. Maybe.
  • Amsterdamned opens with a murder of a prostitute. Perhaps reflecting the country's open attitude (prostitution being legal and regulated), it's treated as seriously by the police as the killer's subsequent murders.
  • In Angel (1984), a Serial Killer is preying on the hookers who ply their trade along Hollywood Boulevard. After two of her friends are killed, and the killer escapes from the police, Angel decides to hunt down the killer.
  • In Art of the Dead, Mad Artist Dorian Wilde creates the canvas for the Lust painting from the skin of a dead prostitute provided for him by Jack the Ripper. In the present day, Louis hires a prostitute to serve as a subject (and canvas) for his painting, intending to kill her afterwards. She manages to escape his attack but is later killed by Donna.
  • Played completely straight when the villain (John Lithgow) in the John Travolta vehicle Blow Out offs a prostitute in a bus terminal.
  • In the "peyote western" Blueberry (a.k.a. Renegade), the hero's prostitute sweetheart is killed by him by accident while trying to save her from the Big Bad, though we only learn this in the end. She is basically a prostitute Gwen Stacy.
  • A party early on in Boogie Nights features a girl — implied to be both underage and either a porn star or one of the Colonel's regular girls — who suffers a drug overdose as she's getting ready to have sex with a guy. The guy himself freaks out, although that's in part because it was his cocaine that caused the problem, and everyone else who gets involved seems to view the matter as a minor inconvenience at best, and the last we see of her is her being carried away from the party as if she were garbage to be disposed of.
  • Brimstone: The safety of the hookers in the brothel is a secondary concern at best. The owner rips out the tongue of one of the girls for talking back to a client, and another one is hanged for stopping a client from raping the young Joanna.
  • Bunni: In the video of Lisa torturing her husband, she shows him the corpse of the stripper he'd been cheating on her with.
  • After spending several years in the hospital's burn ward, The Burning's main antagonist Cropsy leaves it with only one thing on his mind: Murder. And he is glad to show it to the prostitute he meets on the streets.
  • The first victim in The Case of the Bloody Iris, is a prostitute named Luna. She is buzzed into the high-rise apartment building of a potential client and stabbed to death in the elevator by a masked killer who vanishes before it reaches the top floor.
  • In Chloe, this is arguably the entire point. The plot centers around a wealthy, married, middle-aged woman, Catherine, played by Julianne Moore, who has an affair with a young prostitute, the eponymous Chloe, played by Amanda Seyfried. Chloe becomes emotionally attached to Catherine and refuses to take a payoff to go away after Catherine tires of the affair. Eventually, Catherine kills Chloe by pushing her out a window. This is arguably also a meta-example, since many viewers of the film see Catherine as victimized by and justified in killing her mentally unbalanced stalker, instead of as a manipulative and selfish narcissist who kills her emotionally troubled, much younger, much poorer mistress when she becomes inconvenient. In other words, Chloe was disposable for much of the audience.
  • City Warriors have the police discovering the badly-decomposed carcass of a prostitute in a Peekaboo Corpse moment, the victim's identity being revealed later when a local Corrupt Politician turns out to be secretly running a prostitution ring in secret. More than one unfortunate whores ends up getting brutally killed during the duration of the film, too.
  • In Countess Dracula, Dobi lures the whore Ziza to the castle so Elisabeth can murder her and bathe in her blood. However, because Ziza is not a virgin, her blood does not restore Elisabeth's youth and beauty.
  • In Dark City (1998), the Strangers attempt to make John Murdock a serial killer of prostitutes by implanting fake memories of the murders in his head. They themselves kill a woman to serve as his latest victim, though if she had been a prostitute, it was only because the Strangers put her in that role.
  • In Dead Man, the former prostitute Thel barely makes it to five minutes of screen time before she's murdered by an ex-lover, creating an I Let Gwen Stacy Die situation.
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, unlucky hooker Plenty O'Toole gets thrown out of Bond's Las Vegas hotel room window into the swimming pool several stories below (Bond: "Exceptionally fine shot." Mafia hood: "I didn't know there was a pool down there!"). Later she is found dead, tied to a concrete block, in the pool behind Tiffany Case's bungalow.
  • Parodied in Norm Macdonald's Dirty Work, in which he hires a bunch of prostitutes to stuff themselves into the trunks of cars in a lot to humiliate the owner. MacDonald shouts, "I've never seen so many dead hookers in my life!"
    Creepy Guy: Lord knows I have...
  • This trope is mentioned in Enemy of the State:
    Reynolds: You know what I've seen? I've seen killers walk free because the eyewitness was an alcoholic. I've seen sex offenders that couldn't be touched because the victim was a call girl. Credibility. It's the only currency that means anything on this kind of playing field.
  • Eyes Wide Shut has the main character called upon when a hooker nearly dies in the bedroom of a powerful politician. Later, he suspects that the same hooker has been murdered by a secret society for revealing too much about them to him. It turns out that she was just a junkie who OD'd. The secret society isn't that ruthless.
  • Faceless: After Barbara's skin is damaged—rendering her unsuitable for the face transplant—Dr. Flamand and Nathalie abduct a prostitute named Melissa as a substitute. She dies on the operating table.
  • Fear City: The killer in this film targets strippers in an apparent take-off on Jack the Ripper, who targeted prostitutes.
  • Feeding Frenzy: The film begins with a Decoy Protagonist prostitute who meets a john in a motel. She's killed at the end of the scene and her half-naked corpse is dragged down an aisle during the opening credits. Later, another sex worker and is implied to have been murdered by the same man.
  • Played with disturbingly in the 1981 Paul Newman movie Fort Apache, The Bronx: the movie begins with two rookie cops being shot dead by a junkie hooker named Charlotte (in a chillingly dead-eyed performance from no less than Pam Grier). The protagonists spend the entire film trying to find out who killed the cops. They never do find out; Charlotte herself barely appears in the rest of the film and is eventually found dead in the trash, and since it never occurs to anyone that she's the cop-killer, the murder goes unsolved, making the character simultaneously a Disposable Sex Worker and a Big Bad.
  • From Beyond the Grave: In "The Gatecrasher", Edward's first sacrifice is a streetwalker he picks up and takes home.
  • From Hell attempts to avert this by giving the doomed prostitutes a fair amount of screen time and fleshed-out personalities. The graphic novel does this as well. But also makes it perfectly clear that no one is bothered if the prostitute dies at the hands of a violent john or a street thug.
  • The Godfather has a prostitute being murdered. Phillip Tattaglia is the head of a rival Mafia family and one of the enemies of the Corleone family that Michael has killed. The killers catch Tattaglia in bed with a prostitute and shoot them both.
  • In The Godfather Part II, a U.S. Senator who refused a deal with Michael Corleone, and insulted his family and the Italian people, is set up by the family to awaken in the whorehouse he frequents next to a dead prostitute, in order to make him think he killed her and needs the Corleones' protection. No-one mentions the fact that someone apparently had to kill a prostitute to execute the charade. (It is implied that Al Neri did the deed. He is shown in the next room with a towel in his hands.)
    Tom Hagen: This girl had no family. Nobody knew she worked here. It'll be like she never existed.
  • The missing person Jay originally arrives to investigate in Goldstone turns out to be one of the prostitutes from the mine who tried to escape. No one from the mine reported her missing, and Jay eventually finds her body in the desert, having died a few feet away from water.
  • In Heat, there is a scene where Waingro, who betrays Neil's crew, kills a prostitute by smashing her head in. Later, there is a scene where Hanna is called away from a party to investigate the discovery of a different prostitute stuffed into a garbage can, revealing that Waingro is a serial killer of prostitutes. This is apparently to establish him as a villain amongst villains. It also makes you feel that he had it coming when Neil kills him at the hotel. The killings have precisely zero bearing on the plot, existing solely to establish Waingro's bona fides as a grade-A bastard (gratuitously, at that, given that in the armored car robbery, he shoots one guard in the face at point-blank range with a pistol for no good reason other than to bring heat down on the gang).
  • In Hellraiser: Inferno, the corrupt Detective Joseph Thorne has sex with a hooker whom he picks up from the streets in a motel room, but the next day she calls him up at work and he overhears her being murdered. With his partner's help, he cleans up the evidence of his own presence so he can track down the real killer. Subverted when it turns out he's been in Hell all along. The real hooker is likely still alive and Joseph himself simply disappeared.
  • In Heroic Brothers, the police discovers the corpse of a 13-year-old teen prostitute early in the film.
  • Subverted in Highlander. The Kurgan has just finished reassembling his sword and is brandishing it in his hotel room when a prostitute walks in and introduces herself as "Candy". The ominous music and The Kurgan's vaguely threatening demeanor suggest he's going to do something very bad to Candy after she shuts the door behind her, but later on the hotel manager mentions to The Kurgan that Candy enjoyed her visit to him immensely. He apparently just felt like hiring a hooker.
  • Horrific: In Terror Vision, Dr. Jordan hires a male prostitute to be the subject of his perception experiement. He is killed when a giant monster crawls out of his eye socket.
  • In Hummingbird, Max Forrester is yuppie who gets his kicks from beating up prostitutes. He eventually kills one and dumps her body in the Thames. Unfortunately for him, the girl he killed was Isabel; Joey White's Morality Pet.
  • In Interview with the Vampire, Lestat kills a prostitute and torments a second one to force Louis to kill her and accept his role as a murderer. However, his preferred victims are nobles.
  • In Jack's Back, a Jack the Ripoff is recreating the killings of Jack the Ripper. Naturally, all of his victims are prostitutes.
  • Mostly averted in Jack the Ripper (1976). Although the Ripper's victims are all prostitutes, there is a public outcry about the murders and the police's inability to catch the killer.
  • In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "No sir, a 10-82 is disappearing a dead hooker from Ben Affleck's trailer." The amused reply: "Oh, that Affleck! Backup on the way." Then Affleck himself gets confused: "No, that's bullshit! Because I wasn't with a hooker today!"
  • Subverted by John Carpenter's Vampires, in which the Big Bad feeds on a disposable sex worker, but doesn't finish her off, and she becomes the heroes' main connection to tracking him down. Played depressingly straight with the other sex workers from the party, one of whom is used as a Bulletproof Human Shield.
  • Knife for the Ladies: All of the Ripper's victims are prostitutes. Many of the 'respectable' citizens of Mescal aren't too concerned about the deaths of the whores, but they agree that the murders are bad for business.
  • In The Man Who Could Cheat Death, Dr. Bonnet picks up a prostitute in a waterfront dive and murders her to extract the gland he needs for his transplant.
  • The Menu: Invoked. Hawthorn doesn't allow single diners, and his real girlfriend dumped him, so Tyler had to hire call girl Margot to pose as his girlfriend in order to attend Julian's last dinner — even though he knew everyone there would be killed. Julian is so outraged at this that he pauses the dinner specifically to reveal what Tyler did and expose him as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All. Averted in the film itself; Margot's working-class background lets her catch on to Julian's dissatisfaction with pretentious high-class cooking before anyone else and she's ultimately the Sole Survivor of the incident thanks to reigniting Julian's passion by ordering a cheeseburger, causing him to let her leave.
  • The first victim of Dr. Mirakle's experiments in 1932's Murders in the Rue Morgue is a prostitute.
  • In Natural Born Killers, the cop played by Tom Sizemore strangles a young prostitute to death to show that he's no better than the main antiheroes.
  • Never Cry Werewolf: One of Jared's victims is a prostitute that he brings home. Her demise reveals his true nature to Loren. Averted with a second one who he was planning to kill, but who gets scared and runs off after seeing a warning Loren painted on the wall.
  • In Night After Night After Night, several of the Serial Killer's victims are prostitutes. However, there is no indication that the police are treating their deaths any less seriously than the killer's other victims.
  • Behind the scenes of Office Space: On the tenth anniversary of the film, actor Diedrich Bader told a story of fellow actor Stephen Root playing a joke on him by knocking on his door, quietly asking "Are you my friend?" Bader replied, "Of course, Stephen." "Are you really my friend?" "Of course, what's wrong?" Root's reply was "I just killed a prostitute."
  • Pathology: When Jake finally snaps after learning Ted and Juliette are sleeping together, his first act is to hire three prostitutes and murder them in a brutal fashion—with none of the finesse of the group's usual virtually undetectable methods of killing—and invite Ted over to view the bodies.
  • In Patrick Still Lives, Stella is revealed to be a former prostitute. She later ends up telekinetically impaled in the crotch with a red-hot poker by the title character.
  • In Perfume, Grenouille tests his new scent-capturing process on a prostitute. She doesn't cooperate, so he simply kills her and finishes the process. Once he's perfected the technique, he discards her scent as unworthy and focuses on his real targets: virgins.
  • Pusher 2 has Kurt trick Tonny into being an accomplice in the murder of a prostitute. However, when Tonny is given the job to kill another prostitute, he decides not to go through with it.
  • In The Teaser of Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper, a pimp is possessed by the spirit of Jack The Ripper and butchers one of his prostitutes with a shard of broken glass.
  • In Red Heat, during a firefight between Russian cop Danko (Arnie Schwarzenegger) and the Big Bad's mooks, a naked black hooker in an adjoining hotel room dives for cover, retrieves a pistol from her handbag, and blazes away, taking down at least one mook. Questioned by the police later, she says "A girl has to know how to protect herself these days!"
  • In the movie Revenge for Jolly!, the two heroes have an encounter with two prostitutes that ends with the protagonist Harry shooting both of them in cold blood. Nothing happens to him as a result, and the two women are never mentioned again.
  • Subverted in Robocop 1987. During his assassination of Bob Morton, Clarence Boddicker finds his target in the company of two prostitutes. While it would’ve been all too easy to kill them as witnesses, Clarence instead opts to brusquely order them to leave.
  • In Seven Murders for Scotland Yard, most of the murderer's victims are prostitutes. Not surprising, given the killer is imitating the crims of Jack the Ripper.
  • Rising Sun is about the investigation of the murder of a white woman who served as a mistress for Yakuza.
  • The TV-movie Stag also features a group of men trying to cover up the accidental death of a stripper, though it plays it for drama rather than black comedy.
  • Lampshaded in Strange Days, after the murder of a hooker who just happens to be a friend of the protagonist.
    Lenny: Cops are lazy, and they know that no one cares about a dead hooker. I mean, they're roadkill, right? They'll make some jokes, they'll eat some donuts...
  • A Study in Terror: Unsurprisingly for a film about Jack the Ripper, all the Ripper's victims are prostitutes. Although the Ripper's action strikes fear into the hearts of the residents, the victims themselves are largely unmissed and unmourned. It takes Dr. Murray's rabblerousing to spark the government into action.
  • In Theatre of Death, the fifth victim of the killer is a streetwalker. The killer attracts her attention by tossing coins at her feet, luring her towards the alley.
  • Total Recall (1990). The triple-breasted whore gets unceremoniously shot in the back while covering for the heroes. The rest of the brothel whips out guns for a shootout, resulting in several dead sex workers by the end.
  • In Tropic Thunder Ben Stiller's character accidentally kills a panda (long story) and rings up his agent, telling him: "I've killed the thing I love most!" His agent immediately assumes that he's killed a hooker and starts giving him tips on how to safely dispose of the body.
  • The premise of Very Bad Things is that the main characters accidentally kill a hooker and try to cover it up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In The Windmill Massacre, Jack freaks out while visiting a prostitute and snaps her neck. His mates put him on the tour bus to get him out of town for the day till he ships out the next night.

  • In American Psycho, the main character hires and brutally murders prostitutes after having sex with them. He does this several times, once in the apartment of another man he killed. He also preys on a homeless man, another convenient victim that society isn't very interested in.
  • America (The Book) has an itinerary for the Republican National Convention that includes being woken up in the middle of the night by the screams of a congressman who thinks he killed a hooker.
  • Cassie Dewell: In The Highway Quartet, The Lizard King's victims of choice are truck stop prostitutes, as no one except their pimp is likely to miss them, and even the pimps will probably figure they just ran off.
  • Averted in Discworld with the Seamstresses Guild of Ankh-Morpork being known to take issue with anyone mistreating members, described in the graphic yet vague way of Terry Pratchett's pen. The Agony Aunts, in particular, are feared sources of retribution, even before the Guild was formed.
  • The Dresden Files.
    • Most of the plot of the series comes when a minor Red Court vampire noble blames Harry for the death of a prostitute (whom she herself actually killed), and orchestrates an exceedingly complex revenge scheme that sparks a war between the Red Court and White Council.
    • In the novel White Night a prostitute named Jessica Blanche is killed by a White Court vampire. Her murder is treated as just as bad as the murder of several other women in the book, but more importantly, she was an employee of a business owned by gentleman Johnnie Marcone, the undisputed mob boss of Chicago, and Marcone takes an exceptionally dim view of anyone harming his employees.
    • Some of the pornography actors/crew in Blood Rites lampshade this trope, and it's briefly considered as a pattern for the Entropy Curse. Turns out it was, in a way, but the killers themselves were porn actresses, they were targeting the others because they thought Genosa was in love with one of them (he was not, and his actual girlfriend was never a target), and The Man Behind the Man wanted them dead to ruin Genosa, so it's a subversion.
  • Played depressingly straight in Wayne Arthurson's crime novel Fall From Grace. The story opens with the police finding the body of a young Cree woman dumped in a field. This is Truth in Television, as there are hundreds of missing and murdered women in Canada, many of them Aboriginal and most of them sex workers. See the Real Life Robert Pickton example below.
  • In the German novel Gottes Bodenpersonal - eine unwahrscheinliche Liebesgeschichte, there's a rare example where a cross-dressing male sex worker is targeted. The villain clearly believes that no one will care if he kills a hooker. He's wrong. As the victim is a main character, he's not killed, only injured, and his love interest does not consider him disposable, but is instead worried because of this trope.
  • Averted by Harry Bosch, the homicide detective from Michael Connelly's series of crime novels. One of his personal mottos is "Either everyone matters, or no one matters".
  • Holmes on the Range: The death of Old Red's fiancee in the backstory of The Crack In the Lens didn't get much focus. and the deaths of another prostitute every year on the anniversary of her death avoided notice completely.
  • The In Death series: Some of the murder victims are this. Naked in Death, Imitation in Death, Indulgence in Death, and New York to Dallas are examples in the series of this trope occurring.
  • Jack Ryan
    • In Without Remorse, while the detectives assigned to investigate her murder did care, once word got out that the brutally murdered Pamela Madden was a prostitute, they found themselves without the resources needed to properly investigate her death. Her boyfriend's more unorthodox form of investigation forms half the plot of the book.
    • In Dead or Alive, a prostitute hired to service The Emir is killed because she was too nosy for her own good, and kept asking personal questions that could have lead to his identity leaking to others.
  • In The Last Dragonlord, the villain uses prostitutes to power his Blood Magic up until the moment he needs specific sacrifices to power his rituals, on the grounds that nobody in the city would notice their disappearance other than their pimps.
  • In the Matthew Hawkwood novel Resurrectionist, when the body snatchers are paid to secure Colonel Hyde a fresh body, the victim they choose is young streetwalker Molly Finn. Not completely disposable, however, as her boyfriend comes seeking revenge.
  • Two stories in the Relativity series feature this, although the killers had completely different motives in each. In one story, a man was killing hookers because he actually believed he was doing them a favor. In another, secret messages were encoded in tattoos on hookers' bodies. The girls didn't know the messages were there and thought they were being passed around as part of their job. Unfortunately, once everyone had received them, the messages needed to be destroyed...
  • Terry in Rosemary's Baby is a recovering drug addict/prostitute, whose sole function is to be thrown out a window so the diabolical plot may continue with Rosemary.
  • The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner has a partial Gender Flip. Bree first demonstrates that she is, in fact, a Villain Protagonist by murdering two female sex workers in order to drain their blood.
  • Drefan Rahl in Sword of Truth. A Sense Freak whose most common type of crime was to come to a prostitute in a brothel, get to know her, sever her spine to paralyze her legs, gag her, tie her hands, take a knife, and... well, a combat-hardened general stated he saw many corpses, but he can't remember the last time one made him throw up.
  • In When Gravity Fails, when prostitutes start turning up dead, Audran begins to suspect a Serial Killer, despite a complete lack of consistency in the methods of murder. It turns out that the killer is using personality implants, and killing each victim in the style of a different famous killer.
  • Discussed in the Wild Cards story "If Looks Could Kill": While cruising the streets in search of a victim for a sacrificial ritual, Demise suggests getting a call girl instead. The Astronomer explains that a call girl would be missed, while a streetwalker's disappearance would go unnoticed.
  • The majority of victims sacrificed by the Dark Ones and their minions in Simon Hawke's The Wizard Of _____ novels are prostitutes. Unusual in that, while some of the acolytes have a sexual motive, the Dark Ones themselves regard all human lives as equally-Disposable and only single out hookers because it's easy to coax them into dark alleys.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Invoked in Arrested Development: George Sr. and Gob want to set someone up to think he killed a stripper at Gob's bachelor party, but Buster ruins it by drinking all their fake blood and, seeking more sugar, accidentally disturbing the narcoleptic stripper asleep in the giant cake, who punches him out. The trope is then turned on its head:
    Narrator: Just then, the stripper woke up, saw Buster with what appeared to be blood around his mouth, and thought she had killed him for groping her.
    Stripper: [wearily climbing out of the cake] Ugh...not again.
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008) has an episode which deals with the police not taking sex worker victims seriously, albeit when the crime in question is rape and not murder.
  • Implied in one of the trailers for Better Call Saul, which shows a cheap hotel room with women's clothing littering the floor, booze and drugs scattered around, and a yellow pages open to Saul's emergency legal hotline.
  • Referenced in The Big Bang Theory, where a new neighbor, Alicia, deliberately provokes the jealousy of unsuccessful actress Penny, by casually mentioning a job acting as a murdered hooker on CSI.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 2, after Angel loses his soul his first target is assumed to be a prostitute, who was the first person he saw. (Of course, as most unnamed characters who venture outdoors at night die in monster attacks, she's hardly alone.)
    • Even Buffy does this during one of her Dark Side moments; after catching her boyfriend with a vampire-prostitute, she massacres the entire vampire gang in seconds, lets the prostitute go, then spears her In the Back as she's fleeing. Buffy's friends wonder if she's gone too far, since the vampires weren't actually killing anyone, just sucking blood from those who consented to and enjoyed it.
  • Charmed (1998) has a male example in "The Wedding from Hell". There are some demons who have turned themselves into the bride and bridesmaids for a wedding — and naturally, they are sexual predators who intend the groom's destruction. At the bachelorette party, the demons call a male stripper and eat the man soon after he begins his dance.
  • An episode of City Of Vice contains this.
  • A Cold Case episode had a man bringing the murder of a prostitute to the detectives' attention, as it was identical to the decade-old murder of a student who had also been his lover. He speculated that the prostitute's killer was the real murderer of the girl and that if this could be proven that he was innocent and allow him to return to his career. As it turns out, the professor was guilty all along and had hired another student to kill the hooker to throw suspicion off himself.
  • The Cracker episode "Brotherly Love" features a serial killer (or killers) targeting prostitutes. On the one hand, the investigating police turn their full resources on the case; on the other, they also misidentify the killer(s) throughout the episode.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • The show never forgets that victims are people too, and has subverted this in a few episodes.
      • In "The Last Word", two serial killers are operating in the same city at the same time. One kills middle-class women, the other prostitutes. In order to draw both out, the latter's case is stifled in the press. Equal screen time, however, is given to the families of both sets of victims. And after the killer is caught the prostitutes get a front-page article about them, an article that never once mentions the killer. This is done to deliberately deny the killer fame. It's also worth noting that a reporter wants to publish a story on the killer targeting prostitutes, citing that they are just as important. JJ talks him out of it by convincing him that not publishing the story will help them catch him.
      • In "Sex, Birth, Death", they spend a lot of time establishing some of the prostitutes as positive characters and even use them to stop the baddie in the end. Furthermore, there is another male character who has the same urges as the villain, to kill prostitutes, but he suppresses it, tries to get help, and eventually tries to kill himself rather than follow through on his urges; he is placed in a mental institution by the end of the episode.
      • "Jones" features a detective with this attitude; a rape he didn't believe happened ended up turning the raped into a Jack the Ripoff killer.
      • In "52 Pickup", one serial killer killed prostitutes before taking one of those "Mystery" pick-up-women classes, then switched to girls in bars. The prostitute he didn't manage to kill changes occupations and helps the team to track him down.
      • "To Hell.../...And Back", the season four finale featured a serial killer team based on the Real Life Robert Pickton, who went undetected for years in Vancouver by killing scores of prostitutes. The episode takes place in Sarnia and has the killing team target vagrants in Detroit (not just prostitutes), something that allows them to escape detection Detroit police didn't take the matter seriously enough (something Morgan called them out on). The final kidnapping victim, Kelly Shane, featured prominently in the second part and rescued in the end, was a prostitute.
    • "Pleasure Is My Business" inverts this. The serial killer turns out to be a prostitute.
    • The show does fall into this from time to time. Every so often, they'll bulk up a serial killer's pedigree by pointing out he's murdered several prostitutes before moving onto his "serious" victims. For example, "Breath Play" features a heavy investigation when three respectable women are killed in Fifty Shades of Grey-Expy inspired ways, delving into their lives and how they could have met the unsub. When the team realizes he must have had "practice" murders first, they find records of three dead prostitutes. These women don't get names or exploration; it's only the years of their murders that tie in at all.
    • As a rule of thumb: if the episode is about someone targeting sex workers, the show will go out of its way to avert this trope. If the episode is about a killer who happens to target sex workers but also targets others, odds are good that the non-sex worker victims will be the important ones, even if they're all treated respectfully.
  • Used often in CSI, rather infamously. Sometimes, the Body of the Week disposable sex worker may turn out to be a different person entirely (e.g. a cop working deep undercover). While prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada, it is not in Clark County, where Las Vegas is. Legal sex workers would only be victims of the week if they were inside the county limits, making their occupation either incidental, tangential, or a case of writers not doing the research and putting a legal brothel inside their jurisdiction.
  • CSI: NY: In "Crossroads", Adam suggests that a murdered sex worker may have had an "unsatisfied customer". Lindsay immediately tells him he has no right to make that kind of judgment.
  • Da Vinci's Inquest drew heavily from the real-life prostitute murders perpetuated by Robert Pickton. Rather than use this as mere fodder, the show regularly drew attention to the disappearances and had its main character focus on creating a legitimate red light district in Vancouver to help protect sex workers. When Pickton was caught, the show acknowledged it.
  • Deadwood:
    • In the second season, Francis Wolcott has a history of going hard on the merchandise. He turns a local bordello into a bloodbath, and it's apparently not the first time. The new Deadwood madame had actually planned on Wolcott murdering her star prostitute and then blackmailing him to stay silent. She apparently didn't realize that Mugging the Monster is a bad idea. In a bit of s subversion, the ruthless Hearst decides that Wolcott is too much of a liability for his hooker-killing ways, and fires him.
    • In the third season, Trixie bungles an assassination attempt on Hearst, causing him to insist that Swearengen kill her. Al can't bring himself to kill Trixie but realizes that saying no is suicide, so he kills his other blonde prostitute instead and passes her corpse off as Trixie. Johnny, who had a crush on the replacement prostitute, is upset.
  • Subverted in Dexter in the episode "Popping Cherry". The eponymous victim is the Ice Truck Killer's latest, and Dexter is rather intrigued by the new move in the game. But Cherry was known to Debra from when she worked undercover in vice. She reveals her true identity to Cherry's (and her own) ex-colleagues, one of whom steps forward and makes herself very prominent throughout the rest of the episode. She accompanies Debra to the police station and is very outspoken there.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", it's strongly implied that Li H'sen Chang and Weng-Chiang's victims are child prostitutes, with Weng-Chiang singling them out because he believes that they're just "a few contemptible slatterns who will never be missed." Chang points out that they are being missed — in fact, the plot kicks off because one of them had a husband who noticed her absence and tried looking for her — and warns that it's drawing the police closer and closer to them.
  • The first episode of the latest Dragnet remake focused on a killer of these women.
  • The first Body of the Week in the Father Brown episode "The Lair of the Libertines" is a prostitute who does not get any lines before being killed.
  • The Suffolk Murders (as mentioned below) were depicted in a BBC TV drama called Five Daughters, which focused on four of the women (one of the families hadn't consented to being portrayed) showing them as complex, loving, loved and beautiful women. Some of whom were getting treatment for their addiction. The killer wasn't explored at all.
  • Forever: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" the killer imitates Jack the Ripper by killing a prostitute named Mary Kelly. Discussed when Henry points out that prostitutes have always been easy targets for killers.
  • In Frasier, Martin, a retired cop, frequently references unsolved cases of gruesomely murdered prostitutes. He does manage to solve one of them, at least.
  • One episode of Foyle's War has a murdered prostitute apparently tossed in for atmosphere; we never hear of the case again.
  • Frontier (2016): Lord Benton is pretty blunt about how little he cares about the prostitutes he brought over from England when he issues Imogen an Implied Death Threat. As he points out since he already willfully sacrifices the men under his command, how much does she think her own life is worth to someone like him?
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Invoked by Littlefinger and Tywin Lannister, in both cases establishing their characters as being complete scumbags. There are hints throughout the first two seasons that Littlefinger is not above letting his customers murder his prostitutes, particularly those who displease him. We see the truth of this in "The Climb" when he gives Ros to Joffrey for target practice because she spied on him for Varys. Note that the last time Tywin invokes this trope,note  it pretty much becomes his last words as Tyrion promptly kills him for many good reasons including this one.
    • One mention of a lord with a fetish for fresh corpses of young ladies, which Littlefinger provides.
    • Any prostitute that gets near the sadistic Joffrey is likely to end up badly injured or dead, due to his bloodlust being much stronger than any sexual drive. Of course, that applies to nearly anyone who gets near him.
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode "Bachelor Party" there's no hooker, just a stripper, and she doesn't die, just breaks her leg, but Barney seems to think this trope is in effect, and gets a little too enthusiastic about taking the "hooker" into the woods and burying her body.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Before meeting Lestat de Lioncourt in "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", Louis de Pointe du Lac has been (seemingly) carrying on an affair with a prostitute named Lily. Lestat kills Lily as part of his effort to draw Louis towards him.
  • The Law According to Lidia Poët: 1x4 reveals that several Italian chemists conducted experiments with a new drug on young women, largely prostitutes with no families so their deaths wouldn't draw attention.
  • Happens a lot on Law & Order and its spin-offs, especially Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
    • SVU often calls attention to this trope, but largely averts it in practice. Prostitute victims are treated with just as much respect and sympathy as other victims, if not more: very young (often underage) prostitutes who have been coerced into the business are a common fixture on the show.
    • In one episode, they make specific note of how many regular cops view hookers this way. The SVU detectives are disgusted when the homicide detective who hands over the case of a murdered prostitute to them describes it as NHI or "No Humans Involved."
  • The Lincoln Lawyer: Mickey's big point of regret is botching the defence of Jesus Menendez, a man who was set to jail for the murder of a prostitute. However, another sex worker called Glory Days saw the real killer, but got scared away before she could testify, and the search, and later prosecution of the real killer become an important side plot. Unfortunately, Glory Days also shares her friend's fate by the end of season 2.
  • Millennium (1996). A demon who inspires a youth to become a Serial Killer is annoyed because he keeps targeting prostitutes. Although he convinces the youth to abduct a Satanist on one occasion, he quickly goes back to killing prostitutes in a bid to become the greatest serial killer in history ("Seeking quantity, not quality" as another demon puts it). Eventually, the demon gets bored with him, and leaves evidence behind that leads Frank Black to the killer.
  • ''Mindhunter. When the team are investigating the Atlanta child murders, the prospect of some of the victims being "hustlers" is brought up by the GBI investigator as a reason why there's been little law enforcement interest, and when the suspected killer in being questioned, he insinuates that many of the victims were "out when they weren't supposed to, doing things they weren't supposed to".
  • In My Name Is Earl when a group of the main characters are in a situation where they have to decide who to have killed, Stewart suggests Patty, since hookers are disposable.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode The Undead begins with a ne'er-do-well 'psychical researcher' bringing a streetwalker to his mentor in order to prove his age regression theory is true. He chose her specifically so that no-one would notice or care if the experiment went wrong.
  • Inverted in an episode of NUMB3RS: The killer was targeting various prostitutes' clients Because she was the sister of a prostitute who was beaten (and died due to being a hemophiliac).
  • Ringer has Disposable Sex Worker and Shout-Out all in one episode (1x10) as Buffy alumnus Amber Benson plays an exotic dancer/informant who is snuffed.
  • Happens a couple of times in Sanctuary, which is to be expected with Jack the Ripper as a main character.
  • Schmigadoon!'s second season plot is kicked off by the muder of Elsie Vale, a dancer at the seedy Kratt club/brothel.
  • Averted in the first season of The Shield: we get a lot of information about Sally, a prostitute victim of a serial killer, and the detective investigating the case actually names her when cursing out a suspect for wasting police time.
  • The Sopranos: Ralph beats to death a pregnant stripper who was also his mistress and bearing his child. He doesn't consider a big deal since she was just "a whore", and the other mobsters are also apathetic of it rather quickly for a similar reason, but Tony is rather horrified and this permanently sours his working relationship with Ralph, even after he offers an apology.
  • In the "Hook Man" (S01, Ep07) episode of Supernatural, Jacob Karns killed 13 prostitutes in his fury at the red light district.
  • Taxicab Confessions (a reality show where hidden cameras in taxicabs record their passengers) often had sex workers in their episodes. One particularly crushing segment featured a sweet, charming older lady who talked about her escape from a serial killer who tried to strangle her. A few sex workers had already turned up dead by him. She mentions that the cops will probably leave him alone as long as he doesn't start hurting "real" people.
  • Travelers: One man kills a number of cam girls when he bombs their building for revenge when they stop him from contacting one he'd been obsessed with, claiming it's God's will. Pinnock later gets disgusted when the state cuts a plea deal to get him life with a chance of parole, rather than life without parole or death, thinking it's because they don't think such victims matter. It's actually because he's become a Traveler.
  • A male example happens in True Blood when season 3's Big Bad Russell — during his Villainous Breakdown after his lover Talbot is murdered — hires a rentboy who looks like Talbot, then stakes him in the heart after they have sex.
  • In the Twin Peaks pilot, the town's shock and horror over the death of local homecoming queen Laura Palmer is contrasted with the case of Theresa Banks, a sex worker who - Agent Cooper believes - was another victim of the same budding Serial Killer.
    Agent Cooper: She had no family. No one came forward to claim her body. It wasn't even news, until today.
    • We eventually learn that Laura - whose shocking murder traumatizes the town and drives the plot - had also dabbled in prostitution, and even knew Theresa, but rather than making her unsympathetic, it is mostly used to emphasize just how unhappy she was.
  • Used often in Whitechapel (TV Series), though justified considering it's heavily based on historical murders, most of which did involve dead prostitutes.
  • The Wire:
    • A minor subplot in season 1, where one of the dancers at Orlando's strip club turns up dead after a drug-fueled party with Wee-Bay and the rest of the Barksdale soldiers. The soldiers' cavalier attitude about it drives fellow stripper Shardene to actively assist the police.
    • Downplayed in Season 2. A dead woman turns up in the harbor and another thirteen woman are found suffocated in a shipping container used to smuggle them into the country, after which the crime organization smuggling them planned to force them into being sex workers. Baltimore PD, Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and Baltimore County Police all play a fervent game of "Not It" over the case that ends with McNulty proving the case falls under the jurisdiction of the Baltimore PD just to screw over his old boss Rawls. However, the reluctance to take the case has nothing to do with the profession of the dead women, the different law enforcement groups just realize that a murder on a ship from overseas with a non-cooperating crew is a complete dead end and are universally trying to avoid getting stuck with 14 unsolved homicides. Furthermore, McNulty and several other characters such as Kima and Beadie do get genuinely invested in the case and see the human suffering that the women endured instead of shrugging it off due to their profession.
  • This seems incredibly common in Wire in the Blood.
  • The X-Files:
    • It took a Law and Order bent in one episode, where a creature that subsists on nothing but human fat is only discovered when starvation drives it to hire a heavy-set streetwalker.
    • Averted in another episode; a particularly scary and horrific serial killer murders a prostitute to collect parts of her body. The FBI treats the case very seriously, probably due to the brutal nature of the murder, and Mulder advises the victim's friend (also a prostitute) to try and leave town.
  • In Succession, cruise ship crimes against sex workers and migrant workers are brushed away with "NRPI" (No Real Persons Involved).

  • "Beer for My Horses" by Toby Keith focuses on him working as a CSI detective who calls in his father, Willie Nelson, to help develop a profile on a local serial killer who only targets prostitutes.
  • "Brenda's Got A Baby" by 2Pac. The song is about a 12-year-old girl from the inner-city with an uncaring family who gets involved with and pregnant by her 20-something cousin. (Who abandons her sometime during the pregnancy.) Shortly after she gives birth, her mother throws her out of the house, and she's out on the street. When selling drugs fails, she is driven to prostitution, and killed (presumably by one of her clients.)
  • The narrator in the Arctic Monkeys song "When The Sun Goes Down" expresses concern that the prostitute whose propositioning he politely declines might end up as one of these, whether at the hands of the "scummy man" (either her pimp or just a creepy weirdo) he notices hanging around near her or a guy who propositions her immediately after the narrator declines her.
  • "Hollywood Seven" is a song by Australian singer Jon English. It is about a girl who moves to Hollywood with dreams of becoming an actress, who eventually becomes a prostitute to pay the rent before being murdered by one of her clients. The song ends with a new girl with dreams of stardom moving into her room, and the cycle starting to repeat itself.
  • The 1983 song "Maxine" by New Zealand-born singer Sharon O'Neill is about the life and death of a prostitute in Sydney's Kings Cross red light district. From the singer's viewpoint, the titular prostitute has a name, while to the authorities she's just "case 1352".
  • Implied to be the fate of the Narrator (seemingly an Eastern European sex worker) in "Maybe There's A Road" by Karine Polwart: "Now somewhere someone’s saying I was in the wrong / And that I never should have travelled where I don’t belong / Maybe there's a road that's not this hard"
  • The Silver Jews' song "Like Like the the the Death" contains the line "Nobody cares about a dead hooker."
  • "The (Peek-A-Boo) Game" by Sir Mix-A-Lot, tells the story of "Coco" an abused runaway who turned to stripping then prostitution. The song ends with Coco dead, strongly suggesting she ended up one of the Green River Killer's victims.
  • Deconstructed in a song by Kinnie Starr: "She's got a mother, a daughter and a lover. You tell me why she shouldn't have safe cover."
  • A murdered male prostitute in the Sting song "Tomorrow We'll See," who is described as just another victim on that road, carted away by the police and replaced by someone else the next day.
  • Played with in "Ruby Jewel Was Here". The titular Ruby Jewel is a 12-year-old girl raised in a brothel who is forced to sleep with the local sheriff and fatally shoots him the next morning. She's subsequently executed.
    They walked her up the gallows steps
    Put the rope around her neck
    Dropped the trap as all the watchers cheered
    But on the wall of her cell
    In a tiny scrawl and misspelled
    Were the words "Ruby Jewel was here"
  • The song Loreley by ASP tells the story of the eponymous erotic dancer who becomes the first victim of the serial killer who is the protagonist of the whole album.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Bible: In the Book of Judges, a Levite man's concubine becomes this when she first runs away from her master, then reluctantly returns with him to their home, only to be pushed out the door of an old man's house in Gibeah when some horny men ganged up around the house to rape the Levite man, was sexually abused by the gang until she was dead, and then cut up by the Levite man and her body parts sent into all the tribes of Israel to incite them into a Civil War with the tribe of Benjamin.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, the Whytechurch Murderer targets prostitutes. You eventually discover that the murderer is actually an elven wizard possessed by a demon; the demon compels him to kill, but the host can exert enough control to only target, as an in-game book calls it, "those of an evil heart". Whether prostitutes are evil or not can be debated, but it seems the host at least find them more expendable than other, more upstanding citizens.
  • One of the Templar Agent missions in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood sends Ezio after Malfatto, a street doctor targeting Ezio's courtesan allies like a 15th-century Jack the Ripper. On the other hand, Ezio actually has courtesan allies, and three major supporting characters are madames who do not react well at all to anyone killing their charges. That such women are seen as the dregs of society, somehow less human than the middle-class or nobles, forms a minor subplot.
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate has a DLC where Evie hunts down Jack The Ripper himself and as such defies the trope. The prostitutes are helpful allies and portrayed very sympathetically, and when the Assassins deem them acceptable losses in exchange for covering up one of their own gone rogue, Evie is pissed.
  • One of Anarky's rants about how he hates just about everything in Gotham in Batman: Arkham Origins includes a mention of how then-City Councilman Hill was once found in a hotel room with two dead strippers - and he still somehow won the mayoral election.
  • This was one of the bigger criticisms of Call of Juarez: The Cartel, as the heroes were portrayed as viewing women in a strip club this way, including strangling two of them for information.
  • The Omertas from Fallout: New Vegas stand out as particularly egregious in abusing the prostitutes that work for them. They kill one of their girls who tried to run away and frame Troike for it in order to force him to use his big network of contacts on their behalf, as well as set an example for any other prostitutes with thoughts of leaving. The Courier was supposed to have the option to expose the conspiracy, but if you take the note, the game won't allow you to free him. They also hire Clanden to make bombs for them and pay him by providing him with prostitutes to torture, rape, and murder in his snuff films.
  • Inverted in The Godfather video game. A major part of the plot revolves around protecting the sex workers. Outside of that, flirting with them gets the character bonuses.
  • Want to get your health up for free in Grand Theft Auto? Hire a prostitute, engage in her services, then kill her to get the money back. However, the media attention given to this tactic goes contrary to the trope. The game rewards almost nonstop violence against every kind of character, but the tactic of killing prostitutes has become its most infamous feature. Lampshaded in Chinatown Wars with Cherie's mission. She thinks that Huang is going to hire her, then turns violent, thinking that Huang is "one of those guys who hires a hooker and kills them afterward." Chinatown Wars does not have the "hire a hooker to regain health" system, though.
  • The serial killer in Night Ripper exclusively targets prostitutes. While the main character Rachel isn't one, he seems to believe that she is, as she's walking alone at night in a bad part of town. It's heavily implied throughout the game that the killer is a local radio host who believes he's doing good by ridding the city of hookers.
  • Apparently the serial killer in Still Life 2 used this tactic to rise to public prominence.
  • In Town of Salem, this is played with. Escorts and Consorts are basically G-rated prostitutes (their role is to distract and thus roleblock one person per night). However, if they roleblock the Serial Killer or a werewolf on full moon night, then they will end up dead. Of course, if they kept a good enough will it could cause suspicion to fall on their killer, and if they don't roleblock anyone who kills visitors, they can be vital members of their team.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has Hannah Glazer, whom you meet on her deathbed thanks to a Synthetic Plague being spread by an Apocalypse Cult that specifically targets vulnerable and overlooked people. Downplayed since she's portrayed sympathetically and is happy to talk about her boyfriend and her life outside the job, in a moment of Video Game Caring Potential.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:
    • Geralt pursues one Cyprian "Whoreson Junior" Wiley, an organized crime boss in Novigrad. Once he finally carves his way through the gangster's horde of mooks, he finds the sick puppy bathing in the blood of some prostitutes he just murdered for his perverted pleasure. Geralt's Tranquil Fury is a sight to behold in the ensuing cutscene as Junior is powerless against the wrathful witcher.
    • During the Carnal Sins quest, Geralt can interrupt Nathaniel Pastodi in the process of torturing the Bound and Gagged Sweet Nettie with a hot poker while on the hunt for a Serial Killer. After getting the information he needs, Geralt can either kill Pastodi and rescue Sweet Nettie or leave her to a gruesome death.
  • Deconstructed in The Wolf Among Us. The Big Bad certainly thinks this is the case and this leads directly to his downfall since one of those "disposable" women was determined to see him brought to justice and essentially set the entire plot in motion.
  • The Works of Mercy: The first person slated to be killed is a random prostitute. If you refuse to call, one still ends up trapped in your closet to be murdered later.
  • An Alliance quest in World of Warcraft Cataclysm has the Dwarf Twinbraid send the player to kill Goblin woman dancers entertaining goblin miners in Frazzlecrazz mine because he wanted dead goblins.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: Averted. Ichiban was raised in a brothel, and takes a very dim view of people who victimise or disrespect sex workers.
  • Downplayed with Kokona Haruka of Yandere Simulator. She engages in compensated dating (which does not have to involve sex, but sometimes does) because she really needs the money to pay off her dad's debt to a loan shark. As the official debug test rival, she's the guinea pig for various methods of murder, some of which involve taking advantage of said compensated dating. Yan-chan isn't targeting her for her illicit activities, and most of the rivals she wants are upstanding girls. They just had the poor luck to like the same guy as the murderous Yandere.

  • Panthera uses this too. The Big Bad kidnapped "addicts, whores, vagrants, criminals... the scum on the boots of society" and proceeded to stick a needle into them and inject them with Serum 43. All of one page is spent dwelling on them specifically instead of an abstract "people", and it wasn't even in the original script.
  • Hark! A Vagrant: "Burke & Hare on the Job" depicts the serial killers murdering a prostitute and selling her corpse. The did indeed target beggers and the like, but at least one of their more recognizable victims had his head and feet cut off by the doctor they sold their bodies to prior to disection specifically because he would have been identifed quickly due to his very public life spent on the streets.
  • Unsounded: Starfish tries to reassure Quigley that the victims he wants Quigley to help him smuggle are doing more good than they would otherwise, since they're all runaways, vagrants and whores. Quigley is unimpressed though agrees to work with Starfish anyway for more money, and an agreement that he gets the kids once the trip is over. He quickly realizes all but Jivi are actually beyond saving.

    Web Videos 
  • Ask That Guy with the Glasses has at last count killed over twenty-seven hookers.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: While played straight in the Manimal comic, averted in Linkara and Brad Jones' review of it. Linkara refers to the murdered prostitute as "Innocent women getting gunned down".
  • Brad Jones seems to love playing with this trope, as evidenced in his films Hooker With a Heart of Gold and, so much more so, Midnight Heat.
  • Played straight and then subverted by The Nostalgia Critic. He took his grief over Kickassia out on a Reno hooker and accidentally killed her, but felt guilty and tried to make up for it by calling out Milk Money for its "family-friendly" portrayal of hookers.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Spoony has several times made references to killing hookers in throwaway lines. Mostly right before yelling at the cameraman for filming it.
  • Unusually, despite being a sex worker in a series where a Serial Killer (actually three) run rampant and Anyone Can Die, Samus Aran in There Will Be Brawl is unusual for being one of the few characters to actually survive the series.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: When Archer is training Cyril to be a secret agent, he naturally calls over Trinette to help. Archer being Archer, he practices with live ammo and real poisons.
    Archer: Oh my god, you killed a hooker!
    Cyril: "Call girl"! She was a call girl!
    Archer: No, Cyril! When they're dead, they're just hookers!
  • The trope is frequently parodied in Family Guy:
    Peter, consoling a politician in a stripper club after they accidentally killed one: Whoa, it's okay, it's okay, Senator. This girl didn't have a family. It'll be like she never existed. Now grab a hold of yourself. All right. Now, listen. You may have killed her when you shoved those dollar bills down her throat. You may have killed her when you hit her with the stool. I don't know. I'm not a doctor.

    Peter, in a PSA at the end of the episode from the previous example: You know, we've had a lot of laughs tonight, but I'll tell you what's not funny — killing strippers. Strippers are people too; naked people who may be willing to pleasure you for a price you negotiate later behind the curtain of a VIP room. Besides, there's no reason to kill them, 'cause most of them are already dead inside. Good night, folks!

    Carter, while testifying against Peter for the murder of his daughter: a favor to the court, I've produced this simulation of how the killing transpired. I play Peter, and I hired an Asian hooker to play my daughter.
    Carter in video: Lois, I'm fat, and I'm stupid, and I fart at times that ruin my father-in-law's social occasions and that's why I'm never invited to them.
    Hooker in video: You pay me now?
    Carter shoots hooker off the boat, then loots her purse.
    Carter: That's how it happened, and that Lois was no saint, either. Said she'd give me an over-under for 60 bucks. Got gypped.


Video Example(s):


Kobra Chamber

Lord Kobra has a hooker killed by his snakes for thrills after he's done with her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.69 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisposableSexWorker

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