Estimating the Unlawful Commercial Sex Economy in the United States [Eight Cities]; 2003-2007 (ICPSR 35159)

Version Date: Jun 9, 2017 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Meredith Dank, Urban Institute; Bilal Khan, John Jay College; P. Mitchell Downey, Urban Institute; Cybele Kotonias, Urban Institute; Deborah Mayer, Urban Institute; Colleen Owens, Urban Institute; Laura Pacifici, Urban Institute; Lilly Yu, Rice University

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35159.v1

Version V1

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This study measures the size and structure of the underground commercial sex economy in eight major US cities: San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Miami. The goals of this study were to derive a more rigorous estimate of the underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) in eight major US cities and to provide an understanding of the structure of this underground economy.

Researchers relied on a multi-method approach using both qualitative and quantitative data to estimate the size of UCSE including:

  1. Collecting official data on crime related to the underground weapons and drugs economies
  2. Conducting semi-structured interviews with convicted traffickers, pimps, child pornographers, and sex workers at the federal, state, and local levels
  3. Conducting semi-structured interviews with local and federal police investigators and prosecutors to inform our analysis of the interrelationship across different types of underground commercial sex activity.

Dank, Meredith, Khan, Bilal, Downey, P. Mitchell, Kotonias, Cybele, Mayer, Deborah, Owens, Colleen, … Yu, Lilly. Estimating the Unlawful Commercial Sex Economy in the United States [Eight Cities]; 2003-2007. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-09. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35159.v1

Export Citation:

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-1674)

city

Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2003 -- 2007
2010

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

The qualitative data are not available as part of this data collection at this time.

This data uses primary and secondary sources of data. Secondary data files used in this study are listed in the document: Dataset Guide 06.28.2013.docx, which is included in documentation files and publicly downloadable.

One component to this study includes JAVA to develop the estimates used and the creation of a simulation program. Given that JAVA is not a program that ICPSR supports, NACJD requested that the lead methodologist describe the algorithm used and post them on an open forum site. These files are posted here: https://github.com/grouptheory/EPIC.

The purpose of the study was to measure the size and structure of the underground commercial sex economy in the United States.

The study employed a multi-method approach, using both qualitative and quantitative data. Existing datasets documenting the market changes for illegal drugs and weapons were analyzed to measure changes in these markets and estimate the overall size of these markets. This was done by measuring changes in a series of "proxy" variables, which were assumed to be proportional to underlying activity. Thus, official national datasets that measured some sort of drug and gun activities over a period of time were collected to measure these changes.

Qualitative data was collected through interviews with 119 stakeholders and 142 convicted offenders, including local and federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, pimps/sex traffickers, sex workers, and child pornographers. A total of 119 in-person, semi structured stakeholder and offender interviews were conducted about the structure of the underground commercial sex economy (UCSE), the profits generated through the UCSE, networking within the UCSE, and changes in the UCSE over time.

Researchers employed a targeted, purposive sample of urban areas as study sites. Sites were selected from a list of the 100 largest metro statistical areas by population as defined by the Census Bureau and then narrowed down to 17 sites based off the following criteria:

  • Number of convictions in the Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center (FJSRC) data for UCSE-related offenses (at least 20).
  • Recommendations from UCSE subject experts.
  • Existence of a federally-funded human trafficking task force.
  • Willingness of local law enforcement to work with researchers on this issue.
  • Availability of gun and drug data to be used as proxies
  • Geographic location.
  • Where the city falls within known "pimp circuits" in the United States.

Participants were then sought out in the following ways:

  1. Researchers searched for online published news stories and press releases on individuals who were arrested, adjudicated, and/or convicted on UCSE-related charges in the eight cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas.
  2. Researchers reached out to the Human Trafficking Clinic of the University of Michigan Law School, since they had recently launched the Human Trafficking Law Project (HTLP), a database that documents cases of human trafficking in the United States.
  3. Used subscription to CourtLink to gain access to court documents for these cases.
  4. Asked stakeholders in each of the eight cities to suggest potential respondents who were convicted on UCSE-related charges.

Cross-sectional

All pimps, sex workers, and child pornographers identified in eight cities in the United States from 2003-2007.

individual

Interviews with pimps prostitutes

Secondary analysis of data files listed in document: Dataset Guide 06.28.2013.docx, which is included in documentation files and publicly downloadable.

administrative records data, survey data

This study includes four excel files that contain information on interviews with prostitutes and pimps as well as secondary analysis of economic factors in the 8 cities.

  1. file14-SW_data_archiving.xlsx- This file contains 37 cases of prostitutes interviewed for this study. Questions include information on arrest/convictions, demographics, history of sex work, type of sex works (clients, preferences, etc.) safety, and violence while on the job.
  2. file7-Pimp_data_archiving.xlsx- This file contains 74 cases of pimps interviewed for this study. Questions include information on charge, sentence, demographics of accused, how they became involved in pimping, history with drugs, history of owning a business, rules and expectations while pimping, acts of violence committed, payments, advertising, and perception of risks while pimping.
  3. Proxy data (8-17-13).csv- This file includes the variables used for analysis from the secondary data files, which are those taken from secondary data sources in order to understand the market changes for illegal drugs and weapons.
  4. Raw proxy data (8-21-13).csv- This file contains numbers directly from the base datasets. It shows the original variables before they were recoded, transformed, or otherwise manipulated.

Not applicable

None

2017-06-09

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Dank, Meredith, Bilal Khan, P. Mitchell Downey, Cybele Kotonias, Deborah Mayer, Colleen Owens, Laura Pacifici, and Lilly Yu. Estimating the Unlawful Commercial Sex Economy in the United States [Eight Cities]; 2003-2007. ICPSR35159-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-09. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35159.v1

Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.