Prostitutes Move Indoors, Get Comfy


Prostitutes have taken their business indoors in New York, with interesting results, according to a new paper:

In the mid-1990s, changes to law enforcement strategies in New York City pushed many women working in the sex trade off of the streets and into the indoors. Increasing numbers of women began advertising sexual services in bars, over the Internet, and in print media, and conducting their work in their homes, hotels, and brothels. This study uses in-depth interviews and participant observation to examine the impact of this change on the life and work of women working in New York's indoor sex trade. A critical finding is that as women move their work indoors, they begin to conceive of sex work as a profession and a career, rather than just a short-term means of employment. This "professional and careerist orientation" may have significant implications for the length of women's tenure in sex work and ultimately, for their ability to exit the trade completely.

From the paper:

The decision to engage in sex work may be a fairly rational choice by women: namely, given their qualifications and the state of the market, they realize that they are able to earn more money in sex work than other available jobs. …Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the indoor women in our sample report sex work as being the best job they have ever had.

And this:

The women in our sample are demographically diverse and work in many different indoor venues. They range from home-based white ethnics who use the Internet and newspaper to advertise their services, to Asian and Latina immigrants who solicit their customers in nightclubs.

All of this, of course, raises questions about the possibility of a Debauchery Digital Divide. Are some prostitutes haves, and others have-nots? Should the government subsidize hosting and web cams?

Last year, Kerry interviewed a "have."

Via Marginal Revolution