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About Abuse

Forced Prostitution

Updated: September 1, 2016

What is a pimp?

A pimp is a person, usually male, who has control over one or more prostituted people and the money that they earn.1  Pimps often exert control much in the same way that an abuser may exert control over an intimate partner - through intimidation, fear, physical and sexual abuse, rape, torture, and other abusive methods.   Although some pimps might “protect” the prostitutes who work for them by making sure that the customers pay or don’t abuse them, pimps are often more violent to the prostitutes than the customers are.  In addition, any protection offered by a pimp is generally motivated by the pimp’s own desire for money, not concern for the prostituted person’s safety.  In fact, an early study (from 1994) found that 85% of prostitutes are raped by their pimps2 – although the numbers may be different if this study were done today.  Pimps also often threaten the lives of the prostitutes who work for them or threaten other harm to them or their families, which may prevent a person from leaving prostitution.

1Merriam Webster Dictonary
2 Council on Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, 1994