How tech tools have changed today’s prostitution business

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, along with his students, has been studying the sex work industry since the 1990s. In a recent article for Wired, Venkatesh describes how the business has changed over the past couple of decades.

Technology has played a fundamental role in this change. No self-respecting cosmopolitan man looking for an evening of companionship is going to lean out his car window and call out to a woman at a traffic light. The Internet and the rise of mobile phones have enabled some sex workers to professionalize their trade. Today they can control their image, set their prices, and sidestep some of the pimps, madams, and other intermediaries who once took a share of the revenue. As the trade has grown less risky and more lucrative, it has attracted some middle-class women seeking quick tax-free income.

The map above shows the distribution of prostitution in New York City. Red indicates relatively high density, green indicates medium, and the rest is low. So what you see is a dispersion of prostitution rather than a couple of concentrated areas. There are still high density areas, but they’ve shifted and become smaller.

In addition to the map, there’s a collection of facts and figures such as cost for certain acts and tools of the trade (SFW).

The sample size is 289, spread out over two decades, and I’m not sure what the sampling method was, so take that into consideration as you read it over, but nevertheless, it’s an interesting look into the world.

[Wired | Thanks, William]

6 Comments

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, …

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.