(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) A study to be released Wednesday about the world's oldest profession concludes that the lucrative underground commercial sex economy in eight large U.S. metropolitan areas brings in anywhere from $40 million annually to as much as nearly $300 million.
The unprecedented 340-page study by the Urban Institute, a policy research group, finds — not surprisingly — that the reach of the Internet has facilitated the flesh trade and made it harder to combat. The report and its in-depth interviews with 73 convicted pimps and traffickers also challenges conventional wisdom on the illicit side of the sex industry.
"We often think about the commercial sex economy as a hustle, where there's no real thought or planning that's involved," said Meredith Dank, the lead researcher on the exhaustive study funded by the Justice Department. "But we found … the opposite — that some pimps and traffickers actually had a business model they followed."
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