Overview of Business Models That Pimps Utilize

Business models vary between pimps and types of sex business, making it difficult to identify pimps and traffickers as they arise or evaluate a uniform prescription to the problem of commercialized prostitution and sexual exploitation.  It is difficult to gather accurate data, such as statistics, regarding this particular industry due to the secrecy and shame surrounding the sexual abuse that occurs.  As a result, information regarding a pimp’s business model is not necessarily available making it difficult to draw accurate conclusions on this subject.

Yet, there are a few different models that have been identified by law enforcement and non-profit organizations.  One study indicates that many commercially exploited victims move between one type of activity to another, such as moving between working the streets and in an escort service.  Pimps adhere largely to a specific business model of their choosing but will incorporate elements of other business models as [s]he deems necessary to the monetary advancement of his or her enterprise.  Often times there is no real ‘business model’ that pimps go by.  They will come up with their own model for how they feel they can best profit from.   “The bottom line is, in order to keep their businesses running pimps need to control, and control can come in the form of physical, emotional, psychological, and financial to the girls [or males] who are dependent on them.” Although business models exist they are not equivalent to a legitimate business model, such as fast food chains, because pimps often times do not have a formal education.

It is important to realize that “pimps understand the meaning of business over personal ventures, that is marketing a product and investing in your product first so your product can return profits.”  Pimps also understand the concept of capitalism, meaning that it is a pimp’s prerogative to entice any prostitute away from another pimp because it is viewed as a component of free enterprise.  Philosophically speaking, “pimps believe all capitalistic pursuits are parallel to pimping.”

Therefore, other pimps are free to seduce a prostitute away from his or her current pimp into his stable for his financial gain without fear of retaliation from the current pimp due to street rules that prevent pimps from chasing their prostitutes.  A pimp will teach his prostitute[s] not to make eye contact with any other pimps in order to protect his assets from being stolen by another pimp.  What keeps individuals in prostitution is the fact that they are living by the rules of the street.  A prostitute is forced into working for another pimp if [s]he makes eye contact with another pimp, ultimately resulting in a new ownership as [s]he goes to work for that new pimp.  A prostitute may be “out of pockets” if [s]he makes eye contact with another pimp, meaning [s]he has put a pimp’s money at risk.  Conversely, the advancing pimp may choose to take the prostitute’s money, putting that prostitute’s pimp at a financial loss.

The pimp business plan ultimately represents a larger pimp mentality, according to Alameda County DA Sharmin Bock, as pimps look to extend their trafficking business both locally and nationally.  Pimps must build up his name ID in order to acquire [more] prostitutes, money, respect, and power.  A pimp has become a successful pimp and businessman if [s]he is respected by the pimping community.  This particular philosophy is similar to the legitimate corporate world: a business[wo]man must build up a good reputation in order to become legitimized and respected.

Similarly, a pimp must build up his or her reputation and reliability in order to become [well] known, bring in a significant financial quota every night, own a good-sized stable, and have prominence among clientele.  “Ultimately you do want to be doing the big ticket sales of children all over the country.  And sadly today there is no bigger bang for your buck, no better investment on your money, no better return, than selling a child [or any individual] for sex.”  In other words, the number one rule of the ‘Game’ is that the pimp must get paid.

There are two categories of activity within the commercial sexual exploitation industry: indoor versus outdoor.  Inside, or ‘low frequency’, activity includes: escort services, private or exotic dancing, live internet, photos or film, massage parlors or health spas, brothels, gang-related, [a prostitute’s] own residence, someone else’s residence, phone sex, peep shows, bars or clubs, live sex shows, parties and events, or an institutional setting.  Outside activities encompasses the opposite spectrum of a pimp’s business and incorporates street prostitution, drug homes, truck stops, and hotels.

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.

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