Sex trade varies by city

McClatchy Washington BureauMarch 12, 2014 

— Here are the characteristics of the sex trade in the eight cities studied in the Urban Institute report:

ATLANTA: The city with the largest revenue generation, its market is comprised of street and online prostitution, Latino brothels and massage parlors. Parlors are closely networked. Latino brothels are both out of residential dwellings and cantinas. The biggest conventional street-level, pimp-controlled commercial sex trade of the cities studied.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH: Mostly pimp-controlled online and street prostitution with a growing number of massage parlors run by American pimps. Women moved between Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Latino brothels are run out of homes but are less prevalent than in other Texas cities, such as Houston.

SEATTLE-TACOMA: The most diverse of the cities studied. Street and online prostitution, massage parlors, home-based brothels and escort services. Highly organized massage parlors run foreign nationals with older prostitutes from South Korea, Vietnam and China. Money goes back abroad.

MIAMI: The sex economy exceeds $300 million, quadrupling this year’s payroll for the Miami Heat basketball team. There’s an upswing in high-end escort services. Foreign nationals are brought in from Eastern Europe. Miami’s the gateway to the Americas. Latino-run brothels are prevalent. Women and girls are smuggled in, arriving in South Florida after stops in New York and New Jersey. Chinese massage parlors replaced those advertising Hispanic women.

WASHINGTON: Prostitution has tamed in the city with changing demographics. Less parading up and down 14th Street near the White House. Prostitutes fit in with the club crowd to avoid detection. Latino brothels are prevalent in the suburbs, with many girls forced to work off debt incurred coming into the country.

KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Old-fashioned American pimping remains. Prostitutes work the streets for profits. Working women use Craigslist and Backpage.com heavily. A city on the Midwest pimp circuit, women book “dates” online before coming into town. Stops can include Des Moines, Iowa, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, San Diego and St. Louis.

DENVER: The sex economy in the Mile High City is not well understood. There’s been a decrease in the prevalence of street-level prostitution because of the Internet. Traffickers behind the escort services are diverse. There are both domestic and foreign nationals, some with ties to organized criminal enterprises. Gang involvement is prevalent.

SAN DIEGO: Pimps feel safer posting ads than having women work the streets. The study found the most gang involvement here. Many gangs use their involvement in the schools and the community to recruit underage girls. Highly organized Asian massage parlors are rampant in commercial zones. Proximity to Mexico and the large number of migrant worker camps increase demand. The rival Bloods and Crips gangs fight over drugs but cooperate in the sex trade.

Email: dwhite@mcclatchydc.com; khall@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @KevinGHall.

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