Atlanta was recently named #1 for sex trade and traffiking in a recent federal study. This report was conducted by Washington D.C.'s Urban Institute for the U.S. Justice Department comparing the sex trade in eight major American cities and found that Atlanta had the largest sex trade between 2003 and 2007. Atlanta made $290 million over the five year span - more than double what the other cities in the study made. This reminds me of my first few years in Atlanta and living underneath a female escort and single mother in an apartment complex in Sandy Springs. Of course moving from Louisiana, I was interested in hearing more about what this young lady did in her "profession" since I had never heard of it before. So I asked questions and babysat her son when I could for extra money. Obviously, she made a really good living doing what she did and even stated "I don't have sex on most of my escort dates". From time to time, I wonder what happened to that young lady and her son since she moved away before I did. We all know that Atlanta is well known for its prostitution and female entertainers in and near the adult nightclub industry. If you don't know, you must be blinded by the guns and drug infestation here. Many events and conventions bring people to our city with lots of time and money to exhaust. Some escorts charge more than $1,000 per hour. One pimp the researchers spoke with in Atlanta made, on average, about $33,000 a week, according to a WSB story. That is over $1 million a year. Wow! So this leads me to the topic of "Is sex that bad?" I am sure many thoughts come to mind when I ask this question, but more questions than answers come to mind for me. I definitely don't condone the sex trade business or sex trafficking either, but we must admit that the sex industry exists and is a very lucrative business. Are there positive benefits to this industry? Metro Atlanta’s exotic and nude clubs generate $240 million annually- more than the city’s three major sports teams combined. The adult-entertainment industry is a major economic engine in Atlanta currently. While city and development officials prefer not to talk about it publicly, Atlanta’s erotic economy has long been a major financial force in the city, helping draw conventioneers and high-rolling celebrities alike according to Atlanta Journal Constitution. Would-be dancers line up to apply for the $350 permit involving an extensive background check to work in the city’s 19 clubs, Atlanta police say, due to over 10% unemployment rates. More and more college students, single mothers trailing toddlers, health and office professionals and even a few age-defying grandmothers are open to this industry as a way to pay for mortgages, car payments and groceries. “You can use the industry one of two ways — as a stepping stone or tombstone,” said one local club owner. “Usually the industry is a pass-through so women can go on to bigger and better things.” A 21 year old dancer and single mother estimates earning "$50,000 after paying a nightly fee to the club and tips to DJs and the house mother". She states "Most of us work a day job too now." Dancers who could once make $5,000 in a single evening say those nights are increasingly rare due to the economy. Those women and men that don't make this industry a "stepping stone" usually benefit from therapy and counseling services, which is where I can help at All About You Counseling Services!