ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A new study has found that Atlanta’s underground sex economy brings in $290 million a year.
The three-year long study conducted by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center analyzed the size and structure of the underground commercial sex economies in Atlanta, San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Kansas City, MO.
Based on data from 2007, Atlanta had the largest cash-based underground sex economy at $290 million a year.
Pimps, traffickers, sex workers and child pornography offenders were interviewed by researchers in addition to local and federal law enforcement officers.
Researchers noted that sex workers face psychological manipulation including the promise of attention from the pimp or more tangible incentives. In addition, psychological or emotional abuse was used a form of punishment to keep sex workers in line.
The amount of child pornography being produced in the U.S. has increased and offenders who were interviewed shared they were part of online child pornography communities.
The study was funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.