Investigating the Oldest Profession: Prostitution and Science Meet, with Meredith Dank

March 31, 2014

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Meredith Dank, PhD, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute. Dank is the co-principal investigator on several international and domestic human trafficking projects, including the new study, "Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities”, which attempts to put dollar figures on prostitution in Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and other major municipalities.

Point of Inquiry goes behind the headlines to interrogate the methodology and meaning of this three-year study, which uses a complex statistical model to extrapolate the size of sex markets from interview data from 73 incarcerated pimps and sex traffickers. We explore questions such as whether the interviewees are representative of the sex industry as a whole, and the role of trafficking in sex work.