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The Economics Of The Sex Industry
The Economics Of The Sex Industry

AIR DATE: March 13, 2014

It’s the first study of its kind to measure the economic scope and impact of businesses including escort services, massage parlors and brothels. The Urban Institute has taken an in-depth look at the underground commercial sex industry in eight major U.S. cities. One of the findings was that, in 2007, this industry generated anywhere from $39 million to $290 million, depending on the city.

But beyond economics, lead researcher Meredith Dank and her colleagues looked at what motivates sex workers to enter the trade, and how pimps manage prostitutes. They unearthed a few surprising findings as well. For example, some pimps don’t like how they’re portrayed in the media.


Jennifer Reed, Co-Director, Sex Worker Outreach Program

Meredith Dank, researcher, The Urban Institute

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