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ABC’s of Human Trafficking: Pimp, Pornography, and Prostituted Person - Renewal Forum


Evelina Giobbe explains a pimp/prostituted person relationship in her article A Comparison of Pimps and Batterers:

A woman is being pimped when their relationship is contingent on her engaging in prostitution and relinquishing all or part of her earnings to him.

As with most sexual exploitation it disproportionately affects females, though males are also prostituted as well.Giobbe explains that pimps control women by forcing prostituted individuals to be dependent on a pimp through emotional, psychological and monetary exploitation. Pimps are often the ones who coerce women into prostitution and are responsible for keeping women in that lifestyle and making a profit off of them. Pimps use tactics such as paying a woman in drugs, not paying her, or “paying” her physical goods, which results in her being financially dependent on her pimp. If she chooses to leave then she is left with no money and no goods because everything she has comes from her pimp and belongs to her pimp. Pimps also physically, emotionally, and sexually abuse the women they are selling in order to humiliate them and gain control over them. Verbal abuse is a very common tactic used to get the woman to believe lies, such as: they are only worth being sold for sex and/or their pimp is the only one that will ever love them. In lieu of these lies, women are unable to see any other alternatives other than prostitution. Pimps use physical and sexual abuse to demonstrate their “dominance” over the women they are exploiting. Pimps will also blackmail the women with humiliating pornography tapes and threaten to tell their friends and family what they do. As discussed in an earlier post, many victims develop Stockholm Syndrome, in which the repeated abuse over time causes victims to have a strong attachment to their pimps. To understand the relationship between pimps and prostituted individuals in greater detail please read Evelina Giobbe’s article A Comparison of Pimps and Batterers.


Enough Is Enough, an organization focused on advocating for a safe Internet system for youth, explains that pornography can be thought of as “all sexually explicit material intended primarily to arouse the reader, viewer, or listener.”

In a study lead by Melissa Farley entitled Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers, Farley found that men who buy sex (i.e participating in prostitution and human trafficking) began first by looking at pornography. She also found that men who buy sex are more likely to view pornography on a regular basis and imitate what they see in pornography with their partners and prostituted individuals. Furthermore, men who first became educated about sex from pornography are more likely to buy sex from a prostituted individual.

Enough Is Enough has compiled a list of statistics on pornography that support that pornography consumption leads to individuals buying prostituted and trafficked persons. Also, pornography sexually desensitizes individuals and leads them to crave more hardcore sexual experiences such as sexual encounters/pornographic images with minors and violent sexual experiences. Enough Is Enough reports that children in the US begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11. Brain imaging studies show that exposure to unhealthy sexual norms and attitudes before the age of 21 can lead to lifelong injuries to an individuals sexual orientation (i.e. understanding of sex in a healthy way).

Prostituted Person/Child

Julia O’Connell Davidson in her book Prostitution, Power, and Freedom, shifts away from the traditional definition of prostitution as sex and sexual services being sold as a commodity. Davidson begins with the distinction between labor and the power to labor. She argues that one cannot buy a specified amount of labor; one must buy the “power to labor” (page 9). Similarly, one does not buy an object when they buy sex; one buys the ability to use another’s body as they please. Therefore, inspired by Davidson’s definition of prostitutionI define prostitution as: an institution in which the powers of command over a persons body specifically for sex and sexual services is sold to an individual that would otherwise not be able to access these powers

As explained in earlier posts, most if not all prostituted individuals are forced, fraud, or coerced into selling their bodies for sex. Often prostituted persons have a pimp or brothel owner exploiting them to make a profit.  There are two major types of prostitution: indoor and outdoor.  Outdoor prostitution is street prostitution. In street prostitution women walk the street in an area known for prostitution. Men will pick women up and have sex with them in their car, a motel, or, in rare cases the buyers home. Indoor prostitution occurs through escort services, strip clubs, and brothels (including massage parlors and saunas). Though some academics argue that indoor prostitution is less harmful than outdoor (because supposedly there is less risk of physical harm), there is a lot of evidence to support all types of prostitution to be severely harmful. To read more about the relationship between indoor and outdoor prostitution please read Melissa Farley’s article: Prostitution Harms Women Even if Indoors


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