Prostitution is said to be the world’s oldest profession, but understanding the size and scope of this economy, and the methods and actors involved in this trade, is still a murky endeavor.Outside the sex sold legally in Nevada, prostitution in the United States transpires in the shadows of an underground economy.Most of the pimps interviewed are currently serving time for pimping or trafficking at least one minor.
And in all but two of the cities, the size of the underground commercial sex economy shrunk during the five-year span.
DC’s underground commercial sex economy experienced the biggest drop, dwindling from $155 million to $103 million, a roughly 34 percent decline.
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.
In other cases, women who are already involved in sex work, or are looking to get involved, ask men to protect and care for them in exchange for money, respondents said.
Pimping depends entirely on having employees perform sexual acts with customers, also known colloquially as “johns.” In other words, recruitment is the most important component of any pimp’s business model.
According to several of the 73 convicted pimps interviewed in 20 for the study, scouting at transportation hubs is one of their many recruitment practices.
Besides mass transit stations, pimps recruit women at nightclubs, strip bars, malls, high schools, college campuses, and neighborhoods and streets known for prostitution, as well as via online and social media channels.
Others prefer that their employees not smoke marijuana or drink, but still tolerate it. Young dudes usually want to do drugs with them or rob them.