Loretta Stalans, Ph.D. is a professor of criminal justice and criminology, psychology at Loyola University Chicago and a public voices fellow with The OpEd Project. Mary Finn, Ph.D. is director and professor of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
Last month, news broke that relief workers for international charitable consortium Oxfam hired young women in Haiti and Chad to serve as sex workers and demanded sex in exchange for aid.
Oxfam leadership conceded it had been aware of the abusive situation and that it failed to notify other relief organizations looking to hire its former workers that had been involved in the illicit sex trade.
To some, this news may have come as a shock, but as researchers of the sex industry, we were not surprised. We’ve found that illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world. And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world ― where women experience sexual harassment, a gender wage gap and a glass ceiling ― contribute to that sex trade.
To learn about the illicit prostitution trade, we interviewed 44 pimps, men who facilitate and profit from the earnings of sex workers, in Chicago. Of the men we spoke with a third were black, half were poor and didn’t have a good job, and fewer than half were involved in other crimes. These men fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp. The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration, two had MBAs and most of these men were white. In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses. Read more via HuffPost