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  • Researcher tracks illicit sex after quitting commodities

    Bloomberg - 03/18/2014

    Meredith Dank has a job that she admits can be a “party buzz kill” — she spends her days delving into the often gritty and grim lives of child sex workers, prostitutes and pimps.

    “As much as you think you have built up this wall of emotion, there are some horrific stories out there that are absolutely crushing, and it can leave you just speechless,” said Dank, 36, a former commodities analyst who was the lead author of a 340-page study published March 12 that examined the business side of the commercial sex trade in eight U.S. cities.

    Based on interviews with scores of police officials, prostitutes and pimps, the study, funded with $499,000 from the U.S. Justice Department, will help policy makers better address the lucrative illegal sex market, several criminologists said.

    Amy Farrell, an assistant professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, said Dank’s report “gives us a glimpse into the causes, the structures, the relationships within this market.”