As the Republican National Convention was approaching in Tampa, area adult-industry workers were excited about the prospects and increased business that was nearly promised to them. During the convention, nearly 50,000 people traveled to Tampa for the event, including 2,286 delegates, 2,125 alternate delegates and 15,000 credentialed members of the media. Other travelers to the convention included family members and vendors of many sorts, in addition to many others involved with the convention in logistical or other ways.
The convention theme, “A Better Future”, was perfect for adult-workers in Tampa who were hoping for exactly this, too, even if only for a week. In addition to Tampa-area escorts expecting business, a large number of escorts from other areas in the U.S. traveled to Tampa for a piece of the pie, too.
Political conventions are excellent opportunities for escorts and other adult-oriented workers to cash in on some extra business. In 2008, the average convention attendee was 54 years old, a man and college educated. 22% of attendees had a net worth of at least $1 million, so they have cash available for extra-curricular activities.
Many Tampa-area escorts reported recently that they had improved their websites, profiles and other marketing materials to better appeal to convention attendees. Escorts expected at least a 30% spike in business during the convention, which was realistic according to a 2011 study by Scott Cunningham and Todd Kendall entitled “Men-in-Transit and Prostitution: Using Political Conventions as a Natural Experiment”.
Through studying the number of online classified ads listed on Craigslist during the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the pair concluded that prostitution rates increased during the conventions. The number of ads increased by at least 77% on one day in particular during the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. They used rationale that if ads increased that dramatically, it was safe to say that rates of prostitution and escort dates increased as well.
It was also concluded that high-end or mid-range escorts were the recipients of most business during political conventions. Men attending the conventions are older, more educated; not beer-swigging 20-somethings looking for a quick roll in the hay.
Anyone who doubts that high concentration of politicians translates to increased escort business should talk to Carol Leigh, the spokeswoman for COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), who told the Huffington Post that crowds coming into cities for these types of events inevitably mean a boost in the sex industry.
The Democratic National Convention held in Boston in 2004 caused a near panic in the hooker community in New York City according to the New Yorker Magazine. It indicated that adult workers placed ads fervently in hopes of attracting new business, and many were quite delighted with their results. During the DNC in 2004, many escort agencies hired additional escorts just to cover the convention week activities. Many escorts extended their specials beyond convention week due to their success and high response rates.
Even the Los Angeles police department agrees that a large event like political conventions causes a spike in local prostitution. And the reasons more arrests are not made include such facts as perpetrators’ being too well connected, as well as police forces being busy with security and traffic control. Los Angeles hosted the DNC in 2000.
In Tampa it has come to the surface that many strip clubs have renovated or remodeled in anticipation of the traffic the convention will bring. The Penthouse Club added two new VIP rooms, in order to entice camera-shy big buck droppers, in addition to installing new carpet and adding new furniture, just in time for the convention. Mons Venus, another all-nude club, has made some adjustments for the upcoming week of the convention. Owner Joe Redner told the Huffington Post that he expects to increase his nightly earnings each night by at least 500%.
Female adult film stars were scheduled to make appearances at various adult-oriented clubs during the convention week, which increased exposure for the clubs and drew in even more convention attendees. Convention delegates and their colleagues were able to call an erotic limousine service for rides around town with “models”.
The adult industry in Tampa basically exploded during the week of the convention.
Historically speaking, politicians and escorts (hookers, if you prefer) have had history together. From the time of the local sheriff “hooking” up with his favorite saloon girl in the Old West to contemporary politicians getting caught with their pants down with high-end escorts, politicians have always had a weakness for lasses and lads. From Eliot Spitzer to Barney Frank among many others, there is something about the power of politics and the power of sex that links escorts and politicians as good bedfellows — and always will.