Pimp-Prostitute Relationship

The pimp-prostitute relationship holds two primary parts.  Initially, a pimp fosters dependence on behalf of the victim through his actions, validating himself as someone significant in the victim’s life.  The pimp or trafficker exploits the victim’s vulnerability by appearing to be a love figure; a victim’s exploitation begins when they believe they can trust someone.  A primary way of engaging individuals, particularly females and juveniles, in prostitution is through this process of feigned friendship and love.both of which are found in a pimp. A pimp manipulates his prostitute[s] into economically providing for him by arguing that prostitution is ”a job like any other job, that she is not selling herself, that she is just selling a service”.

The second step is to understand that pimps make it their business to comprehend the psychology of their victim[s] while practicing and honing [their] tactics of manipulation. The pimpes goal is to exploit and create vulnerabilities and remove the credibility the minor holds in the eyes of their families, the public and law enforcement. The traffickeres ultimate goal is profit. Included in this model is physical and verbal abuse, isolation, and severing ties to the victimes community. The victim enters into the sex industry where [s]he experiences constant violence and severe trauma. Victims undergo a process of being recruited, groomed, abused, controlled, and being turned out by violent pimps. The result of this step is a ”trauma bond” between victim and pimp or trafficker that can be equated to Stockholm Syndrome. “Pimps crush runaways [girls] with a mix of violence and affection, degradation and then require absolute obedience to a rigid code: the prostitute cannot look the pimp in the eye, call him by name or keep any cash.” In this way a pimp dehumanizes his prostitute[s] by turning him or her into a commodity. An element of the strategy for control over prostitutes employed by pimps and other individuals involved in commercial sexual exploitation is to keep the prostitute economically dependent upon the system of prostitution itself. “Any profit is often spent as rapidly as it is obtained, reinforcing the efforts that go into prostitution.” Spokane Regional Health Needle Exchange reports that additional methods of control utilized by pimps include physical abuse, threats to family members, and withholding basic need.

It is important to note that while some individuals do make the conscious decision to enter prostitution because they either know someone who turn tricks or [they] need a fast and easy way to make money, the majority of individuals are seduced into prostitution and various other “careers” within the commercial sex industry by pimps. Doctors Janice G. Raymond and Donna Hugehst, along with Carol J. Gomez, found that 64 percent of American women reported that the individuals who recruited them were connected to the United States sex industry [Raymond, Janice G., Ph.D., Donna Hughest, Ph.D., and Project Coordinator Carol J. Gomez, B.A.]. Minors in prostitution nearly always have a pimp [Smith, Linda A., Samantha Healy Vardaman, and Melissa S. Smith]. The dominance of pimps over victims typically takes form of physical abuse but may also include coercion and psychological manipulation. One study examined how prostitutes viewed the men in their lives: many prostitutes do not believe these men are pimps even though the latter economically benefits from their work in the sex industry. In fact, many individuals who are arrested for promoting prostitution are not viewed as pimps by their prostitutes. This does not mean that pimps do not exist. “The perception among prostitutes of who is and who is not a pimp does not necessarily correspond to the legal definition of promoting prostitution” [Helfgott, Jacqueline B.].

Author’s Note: (c) Anna Rutherford Engel.  Please site if quoting any of my writing.  If you would like to know which studies or individuals I am citing in my work, please contact me and I will send you those sources.  Additionally, contact me if you would like my research as a whole.


5 thoughts on “Pimp-Prostitute Relationship

    • Glad to hear that you are interested!!!

      Some organizations that deal with sex trafficking are:
      1. Courage Worldwide (http://courageworldwide.org/)
      2. Agape International Missions (agapewebsite.org)
      3. Polaris Project (www.polarisproject.org)
      4. Exodus Cry (http://exoduscry.com)
      5. Courtney’s House (www.courtneyshouse.org)
      6. Safe Horizon (www.safehorizon.org/index/what-we-do-2/anti-trafficking-program-13.html)
      7. Girls On The Grid (www.girlsonthegrid.com)
      8. End Slavery Now (www.endslaverynow.com/)
      9. CAST (www.castla.org/homepage)

      Freedom4Innocence also has a wonderful directory on their website of anti-trafficking organizations: http://freedom4innocence.org/anti-trafficking-organizations-directory/.

      Some great informative movies include:
      1. Nefarious (http://nefariousdocumentary.com/store)
      2. Not My Life (http://notmylife.org)
      3. Red Light (2009). Directed by Guy Jacobson, Adi Ezroni and Charles Kiselyak.
      4. Cargo Innocence Lost (2007). Directed by Michael Cory Davis.

      Depending on where you live, you can Google “anti-trafficking organizations” to see what local organizations are doing in your area and ways in which you can get involved. All of the organizations and films I listed deal with the topic of sex trafficking as a whole and may or may not touch on the specific issue of the pimp-prostitute relationship, although this topic will most likely be discussed.

      I hope this answers your question. If not, please let me know and I will try to be more specific!

      Best regards, Anna.

  1. Is there a tie between this form of brain washing and the lack of these victims father in their life? And, is it just pimp to prostitute or could there be a john to prostitute affliction too?

    • Jason,

      Thank you for touching base! I always appreciate receiving comments and questions regarding human trafficking as it is crucial to spread awareness about this industry. I would like to apologize for the delay in my response. I hope that it hasn’t deterred you from researching this particular aspect of human trafficking and prostitution.

      In regards to your first question, yes there is a tie between the sort of brain washing I spoke about in my post and the lack of a father-figure in the life of a victim. In fact, many victims come from a single parent home where either the father or mother is absent from their lives and, often times, the victim is introduced to a string of boy-/girl-friends as the parent they live with will jump from relationship to relationship. This isn’t always the case but it occurs often enough to become a pattern in many of the victims’ background. The form of brain washing that you are referring to occurs regardless of whether or not a victim has a father in their life as many victims do come from a two-parent home. However, it is easier for an individual of a single parent household to fall victim to human trafficking where (s)he will experience this sort of brain washing.

      In regards to your second question, this sort of manipulation is seen largely – if not solely – in the pimp-prostitute relationship. The john-prostitute relationship holds its own, unique psychology which may or many not include similar elements to the pimp-prostitute relationship described above (i.e. psychological manipulation during a sexual transaction).

      I hope that this answers the two questions you had! Please let me know if I can expand on the answers I gave you, if there are any other questions that you had regarding this topic or if I can recommend some resources for any additional research you would like to do.

      Best of wishes,

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