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Keep It Pimpin
December 11, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Keep It Pimpin is a handwritten rhyme-filled pimp business plan, uncovered in Youth Radio's investigation of sex trafficking.
posted by domnit (67 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh, I didn't know Wes Anderson was doing a Taxi Driver remake.
posted by condour75 at 11:00 AM on December 11, 2010


pimpin' ain't easy, but it sure is fun to plan.
posted by the aloha at 11:16 AM on December 11, 2010


If "Stack Money to the Ceiling (Safety Deposit Box)" were a song, I'd listen to it.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:25 AM on December 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


That second link is really awesome. Oakland is one of the child-prostitution capitals in the US. Between the high population density, the wealth disparity, and the nearby military bases... well, prime location for this crap.

And the pimp business plan? Meh. Iceberg Slim already wrote the book, though admittedly you see a lot of the same techniques in the "Pick Up Artist" scene that's sprung up in the last few years.
posted by yeloson at 11:35 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, at least he didn't use PowerPoint.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:37 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ray Smuckles, is that you?
posted by boo_radley at 11:43 AM on December 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


I heard the Youth Radio piece a few days ago, and even though nothing in it totally surprised me, it was still horrifying. If we start calling pimps sex traffickers instead, they sound a whole lot less awesome and cool. Especially if they are child sex traffickers.
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on December 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


If we start calling pimps sex traffickers instead, they sound a whole lot less awesome and cool.

One of my friends uses the term "slaveowners". That tends to deglamourize that shit right there.
posted by yeloson at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2010 [36 favorites]


Someone needs to teach this guy that we can't all be Terrence Howard.
posted by i less than three nsima at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2010


If we start calling pimps sex traffickers instead, they sound a whole lot less awesome and cool.

The pimp chic that's going around is truly creepy when you remember that pimping is primarily about the violent exploitation of women. So, keep that in mind next time you pimp a ride or a blog or something like that.
posted by chrchr at 11:49 AM on December 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Ain't gangsta rap great?
posted by Ratio at 12:07 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Church, chrchr
posted by Hoopo at 12:13 PM on December 11, 2010


Church, chrchr

Huh?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:18 PM on December 11, 2010


Huh?

Sorry, bad joke
posted by Hoopo at 12:29 PM on December 11, 2010


Maybe I'm humorless or style-deficient, but I've just never understood the pimp-chic thing from day 1. I mean, if it's about wild fashion style and cars, can't we pretend to be 70s funk stars instead? And if it's not, QTF?
posted by msalt at 12:30 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ain't gangsta rap great?

Some works about fighting cops are pretty awesome, yeah. What's your point?
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:30 PM on December 11, 2010


Pimps are vile, and the "slaveowners" term is one I use as well. The glamorization baffles me; some years ago I recall a frustrated Elaine Boosler going apoplectic on Bill Maher's old ABC show because Bishop Don Magic Juan was one of the other guests, and everyone else, including Bill, was giggling about the "pimp" thing. They even kept giggling after Elaine pointed out that scum's own autobiography described how he'd brutally beat his women with things like wire coat hangers as one of many ways of keeping them enslaved. Oh, but the hat and the cane, haha!

I'd like to see our laws be more sensible and make prostitution legal, but pimping grossly illegal. It angers me to hear of an 18-year-old arrested for prostitution, after being pimped for three years- where the fuck were the cops when she was 15?!

I will say I never understand the girls- especially the abducted ones. Why don't they run? After one day you have enough cash to hop a Greyhound to anywhere and call someone- even your awful parents, especially if you were abducted. How do these girls not know that with one strong word, they'd have these scum in jail for ages? I guess since the cops did nothing for so long, now the police will have to deal with more organized and violent gangs, so the blue-capped wussies will just continue to look the other way, while girls are abducted and forced into slavery.

Also: based on that PDF, why don't the cops bust the grotesque "Pimp and Ho Ball" in Vegas? Sounds like that's a haven for far more than just wanna-bes dressing up. Send in several SWAT teams, secure all entrances, and spend the night letting people out ony after interviewing everyone and finding out which "Hos" are actually being held against their will, and locking up their slaveowners.
posted by hincandenza at 12:46 PM on December 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Mayor Curley, he's not saying that all gangsta rap is bad. There are some good ones out there. In fact, many of my favorite songs are gangsta rap.
posted by notion at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2010


Some works about fighting cops are pretty awesome, yeah. What's your point?

Yeah, those works are really awesome and they totally make up for all the ones that are all about glorification and promotion of sex trafficking.
posted by Ratio at 12:58 PM on December 11, 2010


It pisses me off that even aspirational sex traffickers have better handwriting than me.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sorry that should be "Elayne" Boosler.

Also, I guess it's the Player's Ball, not the Pimp and Ho Ball (although the latter is as disgusting, and as populated by future suburban white middle managers, as any blackface party on a college campus). My mistake- but still: how often does law enforcement get a bunch of criminals throwing a fucking convention out in the open? If the next Player's Ball isn't the last one, then it's an incredible failure on the part of law enforcement.
posted by hincandenza at 1:08 PM on December 11, 2010


After one day you have enough cash to hop a Greyhound to anywhere and call someone- even your awful parents, especially if you were abducted.

That assumes the cash ever lands in the woman's hands and doesn't go straight to the pimp, who will make all purchases for her. It also assumes the woman doesn't expect her family to reject her and blame her for her own abduction. Or to assume she had a family to go back to, to begin with.

Pimps, like all social predators, pick their targets smart. They pick people who are vulnerable, with dysfunctional or broken families, who have little or no support network. They take their time and groom their targets to isolate them from what support networks they DO have, just like cults.

You're broke, you're desperate and some guy is not only nice to you, but hooking you up with rent money for a couple of months?

Well now "he's on hard times" and you owe him. Is it too much to ask for you to come up with some cash? Look, he knows someone who's not a bad guy, and he'll pay, I mean, it's not a big thing, you know. Just talk to this other girl, I mean, it's her money that covered your rent, she can help you figure out how to get some quick cash. And don't worry, I mean, this guy will be just downstairs if anything goes down, so he'll keep you safe.

Pimps use all the tools of abusers and social manipulators. By the time the woman is out of town, she's bought into the lie as much as anyone who's been swept up in a cult or radical religious group. Add in the usual issues of sex-shaming, and the people she once could have looked to as allies now blame her as well.

Keep promising someone a better life(SLYT) and they'll fall for it, as sure as selling Glenn Beck gold. By the time they're having second thoughts, you pull out the stick and convince them why it's all their fault.
posted by yeloson at 1:14 PM on December 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


Probable cause and warrants and so forth are still required. You can't just raid a convention on the basis that its attendees are largely criminals. Especially if they're meticulous about not committing criminal activities while on-site.
posted by explosion at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2010


One of the best things my dad ever did for me and my brother growing up was to sit us down and remind us just exactly what the term pimp represents. I've never looked at that any "pimpin ain't easy" merchandise the same since.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 1:20 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, those works are really awesome and they totally make up for all the ones that are all about glorification and promotion of sex trafficking.

Because there would be no violence/exploitation in the sex trades if it weren't for rap songs? I don't think you could even make the case that there would be less. That's how unregulated prostitution has always worked. I'll bet that Hittite and Roman pimps beat their girls too.

I agree with you that songs celebrating pimping are in extremely poor taste. But you can't condemn the entire genre because some people create works like that. Leave that to reactionary parents and pastors and politicians looking to pander.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2010


hincandenza, if you're interested in what happens to these girls that keeps them under the thrall of these horrible people you should check out the documentary Very Young Girls.

Basically the pimps in that film drive around at night looking for young girls, assuming that if you're 11 and out late at night something isn't right at home. Then they buy the girls nice things, tell them they love them and instruct the girls to call them Daddy. Then they explain that the girl is their family, and she has to help the family by sleeping with men for money.

The pimps often get and keep their IDs, birth certificates and social security cards and account for every penny they let the girls keep, typically assuring they don't even have enough to make a phone call.

Also in the film one of the 12 year olds is picked up and charged with prostitution and threatened with jail time. Even though she can't legally consent, the charged her with selling sex. So that's another incentive not to go for help.
posted by Saminal at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


One of the best things my dad ever did for me and my brother growing up was to sit us down and remind us just exactly what the term pimp represents. I've never looked at that any "pimpin ain't easy" merchandise the same since.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 1:20 PM on 12/11 [+] [!]


What an odd father-son sit-down-and-talk moment.
posted by Avenger at 1:59 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Saminal: hincandenza, if you're interested in what happens to these girls that keeps them under the thrall of these horrible people you should check out the documentary Very Young Girls.
[...]
Also in the film one of the 12 year olds is picked up and charged with prostitution and threatened with jail time. Even though she can't legally consent, the charged her with selling sex. So that's another incentive not to go for help
I'm fairly certain I couldn't stomach watching such a film. But the second part of what you said- a 12-year-old being charged- is such unbelievable bullshit it's making me physically angry right now.

What I meant by running is after a 21 (!) hour shift of turning tricks, before meeting their pimp the girl would have probably several hundred dollars, maybe more than a thousand. That's enough to flee, I'd think, before you go back and hand over the cash. I know it sounds heartless, but I can literally not understand in any way how a person could be so swayed. Yes, I guess you can be raised poorly, yes they might seem nice at first, but are these girls brain damaged? When you get hit regularly, when you're forced through violence to have sex multiple times a day with strangers, when you fear for your life... how does the part of the brain turn off that says "FLEE! FLEE! FLEE! FLEE! FLEE!"? Hell, unless the pimp is part of a very organized gang, he has to sleep some time- chain him up so he can't come after you, or just leave in the night to somewhere, anywhere. Hell, roll the dice on another city- I know first hand that if you are a homeless teen in Seattle, there is an immensely dedicated network of organizations that will try to see you safe, warm, fed, and hopefully put onto a better life track- innumerable social workers who would love nothing better than to see a success story. Fucking run!

I just don't fathom the lack of survival instinct, and as much as I hate the system for utterly failing these girls- by actually arresting them, by not pursuing the pimps with apparently any vigor, by not really giving them a safe place to turn except, ha ha, juvie or the court system- I have to place some blame on the girls for not running for god's sake. I can't believe these girls don't have one single family member, one single aunt or uncle or sibling, who would be better than the pimp, that every single family member, friend, family of a former school friend, etc, who would say "Nah, I don't want to get involved- you should just go back out on the street and be used as a human toilet while some pimp gets rich" rather than give them a safe place to start getting life sorted out.
explosion: Probable cause and warrants and so forth are still required. You can't just raid a convention on the basis that its attendees are largely criminals. Especially if they're meticulous about not committing criminal activities while on-site
I'm sure some of these guys must have warrants, so... how many before you can bust the convention, or at least raid it to snag the warranted people (and in the process establish a way in which kept women who want a way out can find it then and there)?

It's absurd that this occurs at all! Some of these scum are literally prostituting children and teenagers aged from 12-17; can you imagine pedophiles holding a "Who have we abducted and raped this year" convention and seeing the police/FBI say "Well, geez, our hands are tied... free assembly"? That seems to be what's happening here.

This all just makes me so mad because it is so completely and utterly preventable. If a 13-year-old girl is walking the street prostituting herself, Officer Friendly should see that and act, and have a way of acting that gets the girl to a safe, welcoming place, and tracks down her pedophile rapist scum sucking maggot of a pimp that night.
posted by hincandenza at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe these girls don't have one single family member, one single aunt or uncle or sibling, who would be better than the pimp

Then you are a fortunate person who hasn't seen, or understands how abusive, broken families work. If you're interested in knowing why this happens, you should really read some books on how emotional abuse works.

Meanwhile, protesting how young girls who are from broken homes are expected to make rational, adult decisions in a society that victim-blames women, is only highlighting your issues and discomfort rather than any real facts about how this crap goes down or what the real solutions look like.
posted by yeloson at 2:27 PM on December 11, 2010 [29 favorites]


What an odd father-son sit-down-and-talk moment.

My father sat me down to talk about drugs, once. He told me, "Look, if you want to do anything, let me know. I'll make sure you get some good shit. Stuff you can trust. But just don't fuck with ice, you hear me? Don't fuck with ice."

Ayep. That was my dad.
posted by yeloson at 2:29 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


But just don't fuck with ice, you hear me? Don't fuck with ice.

He was so right.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:38 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


That assumes the cash ever lands in the woman's hands and doesn't go straight to the pimp, who will make all purchases for her.

In the radio piece, one of the girls describes how her pimp gave her one fast food meal a day. So yeah, the girls aren't making their own money.
posted by domnit at 2:40 PM on December 11, 2010


In Louisiana, prostitutes who are arrested can be charged with a "crime against nature" if they have been accused of soliciting for oral or anal sex; a second offense is a felony and requires that the woman register as a sex offender. The words "sex offender" appear in red on the front of her driver's license.
Jindal has also signed into law Senate Bill 381 by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, that puts the penalty for a first conviction for soliciting a crime against nature on the same footing as soliciting for prostitution: up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $500 or both. It changes the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

But a second offense for soliciting a crime against nature would be a felony punishable by up to five years in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000 or both. If the initial conviction is solicitation of a youth under 17, the harsher penalties will apply.

The offender must register with police as a sex offender if he or she has been convicted of soliciting a minor on a first offense or after a second conviction of soliciting a crime against nature of an adult.
I'm sure that laws like this encourage women in the life to go to the cops. Yeah.
posted by rtha at 2:50 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


What an odd father-son sit-down-and-talk moment.

Odd how? I'm sure there was something the kids said, did, or were exposed to that prompted the talk. The world would be a lot better off if more parents took the time to talk to their kids about anything and everything.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 2:54 PM on December 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have to place some blame on the girls for not running for god's sake.

Are you seriously blaming a 13-year-old, who has few to no resources of her own and is being repeatedly raped (because 13-year-olds cannot legally consent to sex) by adult men (and quite probably physically beaten), for what's happening to her?

Unbelievable.
posted by Lexica at 3:11 PM on December 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


If we start calling pimps sex traffickers instead, they sound a whole lot less awesome and cool.

I'm old enough to remember when "pimp" was one of the strongest words you could use to demean someone's manhood.

Then again "cad" was once a fighting word too.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:31 PM on December 11, 2010


No lexica, I'm not "victim blaming" anyone- and Christ Almighty, you MeFi girl zone types fucking LOVE to turn on people who agree with you and would your allies if you weren't such sanctimonious, purity-seeking people about these issues- but I'm saying a 13 year old girl knows she's being hurt, and should be trying to escape. Constantly trying.

Unless... are you actually implying that because they are girls, they lack free will or thought, and must be protected from the world because they are too thoughtless and weak to seek out their own freedom? Because if so that's positively Victorian of you.
posted by hincandenza at 3:43 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unless... are you actually implying that because they are girls, they lack free will or thought, and must be protected from the world because they are too thoughtless and weak to seek out their own freedom? Because if so that's positively Victorian of you.

No, because they've been brainwashed, raped, given drugs, and are often under constant surveillance. And have mostly come from backgrounds where asking for help might get them a beating - and only a beating, if they're lucky. In addition, they can actually (and often are) charged with crimes, if arrested, may have warrants out (which would discourage going to the cops), and so on.
posted by rtha at 3:48 PM on December 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


There's a reason thirteen-year-olds can't consent. It's because they lack the actual *brain development* necessary to make adult decisions about their lives. Even adults, however, in the presence of constant abuse and threats, are not necessarily capable of making rational decisions about their well-being and judging just how credible the threats against them are. Certainly not when they have been deprived education, contact with the outside world and the resources to be self-supporting. That's not just girls, or women, that's human beings in general. It is never the victim's responsibility to escape. Those who do, fantastic, but it cannot be expected.

I am a really intelligent grown woman with more family connections than 99.9% of people who will end up in abusive situations. I am more than capable of handling myself on a daily basis, being self-supporting and independent, and honestly didn't even *like* the person involved when I was the adult victim of abuse, and even I had trouble leaving. It's part of being human, and why we have to take care of each other.
posted by gracedissolved at 3:55 PM on December 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


Unless... are you actually implying that because they are girls, they lack free will or thought, and must be protected from the world because they are too thoughtless and weak to seek out their own freedom?

Nice strawman there. Go read up on abusive situations. Men being abused do the same things. Emotional abuse works because the victim is brainwashed to believe they are at fault and have no other options.

Here, have some science: Milgram Experiment, Stockholm Syndrome, Emotional Blackmail.

Anyone who is too lazy to even google some basic reading but has all the energy to keep repeating how young women are at fault for being manipulated and abused by professional sexual abusers is no ally at all.
posted by yeloson at 4:35 PM on December 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Okay we're derailing on the blame- and blame is the wrong word, it's confusion on my part that these girls (or gracedissolved) don't seek the first opportunity to escape a hellish situation. I still don't believe the world is so evil that the lady selling tickets at the Greyhound station would look a 12-year-old girl in the eye who was saying she had been kidnapped, drugged, raped, and exploited and needed to find somewhere, anywhere safe and say "Eh, fuck off you little brat". That *everyone* would do nothing. Because that's what we're saying- that no human on planet Earth would lift a finger to help.

Maybe it's true, as one of the overwhelming urges to die stems not only from a crushing loneliness but a sense that there are no good people alive, only monsters.

Obviously the blame squarely falls on two places: almost all on these predatory scum, and a small but significant amount on a law enforcement system that punishes these girls for being preyed on, instead of helping them out and aggressively nailing the pimp scum to the fucking walls. But I'm never surprised by how the cops ignore doing anything decent and helpful (and potentially risky to themselves) for a few showy setpieces to secure funding, and their principal purpose which is apparently killing young African-American men while they're in custody.
posted by hincandenza at 4:38 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are all horrible stories and I hope some good comes of them. It is impossible for me to understand what drives these girls, but gracedissolved says it best: It's part of being human, and why we have to take care of each other.
posted by eeeeeez at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2010


So, hincandenza, I have two words for you. Elizabeth Smart.



Meanwhile for the rest of you, SCTnow.org is a worthy organization that goes after perps.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:41 PM on December 11, 2010


Yeloson please STOP SAYING I BLAME THESE GIRLS FOR BEING ABUSED! Jesus fucking Christ, talk about your fucking strawmen.

I said I "blame"- and later said that's the wrong word- them for not fleeing. I was in a bad place and I fled to literally the other side of the country as a teenager (NH to WA), and was homeless for almost two years as an Ave rat on the streets of Seattle because of it. But at least I was fucking SAFER for a while, even shivering in the cold through two winters, and had a chance to start putting my life together.

Fuck metafilter and all its hateful, judgmental, unforgiving people. Fuck being told I am the enemy because I don't pass a linguistic purity test. Fuck this horrid life and its losses and letdowns. Fuck isolation and being different and never being understood. GodDAMMIT!
posted by hincandenza at 4:47 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because that's what we're saying- that no human on planet Earth would lift a finger to help.

Strawman #2. No, that's not what we're saying. People who have been severely abused do not seek help because they've been violently brainwashed not to seek it. Period. If you're actually confused like you say you are, there's plenty of reading that can be easily found to remove confusion as to why this happens.
posted by yeloson at 4:54 PM on December 11, 2010


Hincandenza, not trying to diss you, bro. Please understand that what traps these young girls and young women is fear. Deep fear-of not being believed, of things being even worse than the hell they already are in, of being beaten or killed....I could go on. That fear traps and paralyzes the mind. Or they start to relate to their abusers. You know, they did experiments with animals. If you pet an animal half the time and beat it the other half, it will cravenly seek to do your bidding, trying to get your love....humans ain't wired that differently.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:55 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry - I didn't see your reply as I was posting.

And if you lived on the Ave? You saw people making survival choices everyday, sometimes not so good ones, sometimes staying in bad situations. Not everyone gets the same options.
posted by yeloson at 4:57 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Addressing hincandenza's confusion (and don't freak out, I believe that it's confusion) over why these girls don't seek help...

The girls in this situation don't have the luxury of knowing that there is such a thing as help or a better situation. They go from broken situations (home lives) to broken-er situations. Also, the girls interviewed in "Trafficked" talk about how their classmates would talk about this happening to them, having rich older boyfriends, etc. They are primed to believe that bad is the way things are.

And after being primed that way, they are forced or coerced into a situation in which they are constantly told that this is life, that they don't deserve any better, and they get the shit beaten out of them for any action that reveals they think any differently. Just by plain old operant conditioning, the any thoughts about themselves being worthy of better treatment are punished, and behavior in line with doing the pimp's bidding is reinforced. Plus, pile all of this on a 15 year old brain that didn't even get the luxury of a normal, loving environment in which to develop up til everything went to shit and presto, you have a brainwashed sex slave.

It sucks. And it's probably a very good thing that you don't understand how this could happen. But I could honestly see myself acting similarly if this had been my situation for my whole life.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 5:17 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


This document only serves to reinforce my opinion that people who write in all-caps are creepy and weird.
posted by mere at 6:58 PM on December 11, 2010


hincandenza: Hell, roll the dice on another city- I know first hand that if you are a homeless teen in Seattle, there is an immensely dedicated network of organizations that will try to see you safe, warm, fed, and hopefully put onto a better life track- innumerable social workers who would love nothing better than to see a success story. Fucking run!

So, uh, does that mean that you go to places outside of Seattle and meet your working girls and encourage them to flee to that city? Because you telling *us* about it really isn't going to help them.

As to this:

hincandenza: I'm saying a 13 year old girl knows she's being hurt, and should be trying to escape. Constantly trying.

I don understand where you are coming from, I really do. I know it seems like people are missing what you are trying to say and being fighty jerks.

One punishment inflicted on a working girl by a pimp, when he has found her to be disloyal, is to take super glue, glue her fingernails to the rim on his car, and drive away. They'll leave the nails glues to the chrome, as a reminder to all the girls. This is a thing that actually happens, and could actively happen to you if you run. Or snitch. Or fight back. Or try to hold a little bit of money for yourself. In fact, especially if you try to hold a little bit of money for yourself.

These girls seriously live in a life that you probably can not imagine, which is good for you, but literally unimaginably hell for them.

And that without bringing any of the Russian gangster stuff into it.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:17 PM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


hincandenza: I believe it's because these girls are genuinely unable to conceive of things being better if they try to do anything. They can only envision potential downsides (e.g. being caught by their pimp and beaten/raped/killed etc.)
posted by gaspode at 7:31 PM on December 11, 2010


And reasons for those beliefs are multiple and outlined above.
posted by gaspode at 7:31 PM on December 11, 2010


Ratio: Ain't gangsta rap great?

Yeah, rap music is such a monolithic thing, innit.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:42 PM on December 11, 2010


"Yeah, rap music is such a monolithic thing, innit."

Is this link an example of rap being .. what? Because I can't tell.
posted by cccorlew at 8:15 PM on December 11, 2010


the "why don't they just run away" question misses the obvious point. 99% of people would do just that. Hell, most people would get spooked and run away the second a pimp started talking to them. Because pimps are creepy and weird. And the idea of selling your body for money is extremely outside the realm of reasonable behavior, even in the worst of circumstances.

So we pretty much have to assume that there's some sort of extenuating circumstance that would cause a person to find the pimp/prostitute dynamic within the realm of normalcy.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:58 PM on December 11, 2010


That *everyone* would do nothing. Because that's what we're saying- that no human on planet Earth would lift a finger to help.

A lot of people don't want to get involved. They don't want to embarrass someone or be embarrassed by making a wrong assumption; they may have their own legal issues as a reason for staying out of things; they may be afraid; they may, because of their own histories, not see anything terribly out of the ordinary or wrong with whatever they're witnessing. They may believe that law enforcement won't do anything anyway - they don't seem to care, so why go to them?

You're obviously having a hard time believing that abuse victims wouldn't just run, like you did. But there is a vast literature out there about this, and just because you don't believe it doesn't make it not fact.
posted by rtha at 9:06 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I meant by running is after a 21 (!) hour shift of turning tricks, before meeting their pimp the girl would have probably several hundred dollars, maybe more than a thousand. That's enough to flee, I'd think, before you go back and hand over the cash.

An important point about trafficking is that they don't all operate in the same way. In many cases, these girls never even see the money - clients pay the traffickers. That's just one tool of many already mentioned that they use to keep these girls under control.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:20 PM on December 11, 2010


Here's an idea. Leave hincanzadena alone. He isn't actually some anti-correct thought-demon needing the social processing of the "properly-adjusted" here.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:39 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I think people are being pretty polite about pointing out facts, without calling him any of those things.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:44 PM on December 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was approached at 16 by someone trying to turn me out. I probably made their victim radar go off the charts - depressed, lonely, history of a tumultous homelife, already had been in a sexually abusive relationship, and so on. This woman explained to me that a pretty girl like me could make sooo much money, I'd barely have to do a thing, the guys would just love me & treat me like a queen, etc,.
As she was explaining to me how I'd get paid ($600 dollars total, 400 for her 200 for me..) I had two thoughts: 1) She gets to keep most of the money while I have to actually let some creepy dude touch me - that sounds like a rip-off, and 2) how do I know that I'm not going to end up in a plastic garbage bag by the side of the freeway? I took her phone number and threw it away later. It retrospect, I should have gone to the police. God knows if other girls she approached actually got sucked in.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:16 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree that this sort of thing is horrible and should be stopped, but have to wonder about some of the figures bandied about in the links.

The FBI estimates that a mid-level trafficker can make more than $500,000 dollars a year by marketing just four girls.

The FBI has said more than 300,000 children and youth per year are forced into prostitution.

This sounds suspiciously inflated to me and I have to wonder if there is some element of a moral panic to all of this. This is especially true given the emphasis on prostitution (as opposed to say, domestic help or sweatshop workers) and lack of emphasis on undocumented aliens and other foreign nationals, who make up the majority of enslaved people in this country, both in the sex industry and elsewhere.

A lot of good information can be found in this State Department report looking at the global problem, this Department of Justice website, and this (large) PDF report that is good at delineating the methods used to enslave victims and the industries other than sex where it occurs. Although none of the links I gave have numbers of the overall scope of the problem (although I could have missed them; there is a lot to read there) the cases they talk about number in the hundreds and thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. The lower numbers are certainly an underestimate (given the nature of the problem), but it does make me wonder where estimates of "300,000" come from.
posted by TedW at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2010


Yeah, rap music is such a monolithic thing, innit

No. That's why I referred to the specific subgenre.
posted by Ratio at 10:48 AM on December 12, 2010


TedW: The FBI estimates that a mid-level trafficker can make more than $500,000 dollars a year by marketing just four girls.

This sounds suspiciously inflated to me and I have to wonder if there is some element of a moral panic to all of this.


I thought the exact same thing, but $500k / 4 girls working / 365 working days a year = $342 per night that the each girl brings in. That isn't unbelievable, to me.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:20 AM on December 13, 2010


$500k / 4 girls working / 365 working days a year = $342 per night that the each girl brings in

I should have run the numbers because I agree that that is not impossible. Although I wonder how realistic it is that every girl works every day and makes about 350 dollars every day. I have no idea what prostitution at this level brings in other than it must lie somewhere between "$20 same as in town" jokes and the thousands of dollars a night Eliot Spitzer and Charlie Sheen are reported to have spent.
posted by TedW at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2010


Pimps are fucking horrible, indeed. But seriously what the fuck is up with all of these Johns eager to pay some asshole for the privilege of raping a child/teen?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pimps are fucking horrible, indeed. But seriously what the fuck is up with all of these Johns eager to pay some asshole for the privilege of raping a child/teen?

Good question. I don't know that much about this crime -- not sure if the pimps are marketing them as young, or just find younger girls easier to control (which might explain some of the "why don't they run away" stuff). Armies recruit 17-18 year old boys too, simply because they take orders better than older guys.
posted by msalt at 9:36 PM on December 13, 2010


But seriously what the fuck is up with all of these Johns eager to pay some asshole for the privilege of raping a child/teen?

There's a lot of causes, but if we're talking about the johns specifically? Take a culture that does a lot of sexualizing of youth - including having sex idols dress up in schoolgirl outfits, or as kids, or act infantile, toss in some patriarchy and the right to women's bodies, and finally pour on a lot of rationalization that works especially well if you narrow your vision down to ignore all the context of age and power dynamics.

Suddenly the 13 year old girl isn't being forced to have sex with strangers by an abusive pimp, she's "willing and consenting and makes good money and besides she likes sex anyway". Basically, all the arguments of folks who engage in statutory rape plus the rationalization that money is being exchanged so it can't be all that bad.

Proximal causes for Oakland, though: high wealth disparity, generational poverty, high tourism, high population density of the Bay Area.... and sadly, nearby military bases.
posted by yeloson at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


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