Sudhir Venkatesh in Slate:
In the late 1990s, New York and other large American cities witnessed the rise of a so-called indoor sex-work trade. Women either left the streets for strip clubs and escort services, or they started their own businesses by advertising on the Internet or cruising hotels and corporate centers to find clients. You may recall “Kristen” (aka Ashley Dupré), the young woman whose tryst with Eliot Spitzer helped bring down the New York governor. “Kristens” might earn $1,000 per evening, which places them toward the higher end of the indoor sex market.
I came across these women when I began studying New York’s sex industry at the end of the 1990s. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in an effort to clean up Manhattan’s neighborhoods, forced sex off the streets of Times Square and other Midtown neighborhoods. In the process, his administration created a new economic sector. I’ve been following the lives of more than 300 sex workers—in New York and Chicago, in high and low ends of the income spectrum since 1999.