Researchers at Arizona State University estimate that about 1-in-20 men in Phoenix solicits online sex ads.
ASU researchers made similar estimates in other large U.S. cities, estimating that perhaps more than 20 percent of men in Houston call sex ads, whereas less than 1 percent do in San Francisco.
According to the study, a lieutenant from the Phoenix Police Department's Vice squad helped post some effective ads online for fake prostitutes in the various cities, and everyone waited as the phone rang off the hook.
After recording all of the phone numbers, to find out people who were calling and texting multiple times (one guy called/texted a decoy nine times), the researchers estimated how many guys in these cities are calling in response to sex ads in the cities.
On average across the 15 cities, the researchers estimate that about 1-in-20 men call in response to sex ads, making Phoenix's estimated 78,000-plus male customers about average, as far as this study is concerned.
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According to the researchers' summary:
The intention of this study is to inform law enforcement, advocacy group[s] and policy makers about the scope of the illegal behavior of buying sex from ads posted on websites and to begin a dialogue about to best integrate this new information into the demand reduction activities currently being implemented. This study is a first step towards gaining a better understanding of the size of the population of online sex buyers.