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.

Those are some of the find­ings of a land­mark government-​​sponsored report on the size and struc­ture of the sex economy, including mas­sage par­lors, brothels and expen­sive escort ser­vices. The study also found that four in five pimps elect not to deal drugs and that little money trades hands in the child pornog­raphy business.

The report does not esti­mate the size of the illicit sex economy nation­wide, instead ana­lyzing the trade as of 2007 in eight cities: Miami, Dallas, Wash­ington, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta and Kansas City, Mo.

The report, com­mis­sioned by the Jus­tice Depart­ment, is intended to address what researchers describe as wide gaps in the under­standing of how the under­ground sex trade works, espe­cially in the Internet age.

Read the article at The New York Times →