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He said both sex workers and clients would pay him for this kind of matchmaking.

Some branched out to what the study refers to as “specialty sites,” including review sites like The Erotic Review, where clients post Yelp-like commentaries on sex workers’ services and are vouched for by providers that they have seen in the past (thereby providing some assurance that they are not law enforcement).

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“For police, targeted enforcement of the virtual world appears to have very limited potential to deter pimps from managing and advertising the services of sex workers.” Sex work advocates, however, are skeptical of the paper’s findings and its focus on “pimps,” whom they say are increasingly less common, thanks in large part to how the internet has democratized the sex trade. The study, published in the journal Victims & Offenders, is based on interviews in Atlanta and Chicago with 71 men whom the authors define as pimps.

The term is often associated with abuse and coercion, but in this study it was broadly applied to any man who “received a percentage of the earnings from sex workers in exchange for scheduling and negotiating with clients, arranging for the location of the sex work, the transportation to the location, and the protection of sex workers.” Nearly three quarters of the men, who were compensated $60 for participating, used the internet to to conduct this work.

This block on the west side of Manhattan, New York City, is home to a runaway youth center, making it an area likely to attract pimps on the prowl for new employees.

On a Tuesday afternoon in DC, a bus screeches to a halt inside the Union Station bus terminal, and off steps a 17-year-old black female.

Another reason was a better, broader client base—as one man told the researchers of niche sites, many of which require memberships.

These men said they developed tactics to avoiding detection on the sites, including responding to ads in the Casual Encounter section.“There’s no information here about policing tactics in these specific areas,” she said.“There’s really no information on how many peole are using third parties to advertise.But a groundbreaking study released by the Urban Institute sheds new light on how much money is generated by the underground commercial sex economy in American cities.Knowing the size of the economy is the critical first step for enabling law enforcement, the judicial system, and policymakers to make informed choices about how to fight the harm that happens within these black markets.In contrast to these drops, both Seattle and Atlanta’s sex economies grew.

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