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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. There are no accounting records to trace, no receipts to scrutinize, and no legal records to analyze. Simply, it is difficult to grasp the size of this economy.
“A street prostitute in Dallas may make as little as $5 per sex act. But pimps can take in $33,000 a week in Atlanta, where the sex business brings in an estimated $290 million per year. It is not nearly as lucrative in Denver, where prostitution and other elements of an underground trade are worth about $40 million.” NYT In-Depth
“Atlanta’s underground sex trade is larger than Seattle, D.C., and Denver combined. …
[C]oercion and encouragement from family members to make money [is] a bigger factor in persuading women to go into (and stay in) prostitution than physical violence.”
"If you add all the underground economies together, you’ll see the largest combined black markets (by city) are: Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, and Dallas. Across the studied cities, the largest underground market is sex, followed by drugs, then guns."
(via Red Light Rio)
RED LIGHT RIO is a story about independent women in unlikely places.
The project is a threaded conversation with fifty women working in Rio de Janeiro’s red light district on the eve of a massive prostitution crackdown to sanitize the city’s image before the tourists arrive for World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Over the course of a year, Julie Ruvolo, a journalist living in Rio, and Aline, her friend working in Vila Mimosa, Rio’s red light district, filmed conversations with prostitutes, brothel management, bartenders, cleaning ladies, manicurists and food vendors who support themselves and their families with the money they make in the Zone.
The project is an attempt to give the wider public unprecedented access to hear from some of society’s most marginalized and misunderstood members – in their own words.
It’s early afternoon and a 23-year-old college student—she asked that we use the name Brittany—is sitting on the room’s leather couch, waiting for the first of the day’s three clients to arrive, talking to us about her job. Brittany is blonde, attractive but not beautiful, a native of a blue-collar town in Camden County, New Jersey.