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The Psychology of Pimping

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1 The Psychology of Pimping
M. Alexis Kennedy, Ph.D. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

2 Purpose of Presentation
Identify who the victims are; lay the groundwork for how people would become pimped Look at routes of recruitment into prostitution Characteristics of and techniques used by pimps

3 California Penal Code Every person who inveigles or entices any unmarried female, of previous chaste character, under the age of 18 years, into any house of ill fame, …, or to have illicit carnal connection with any man; … is punishable by imprisonment … not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both…

4 Human Trafficking Defined By Federal Law
“Severe Forms” of human trafficking is: (a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or (b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.1 1 These definitions are from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 Human trafficking is a federal crime under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of Many states also have state and local anti-trafficking laws. However, even in areas without local ordinances against trafficking, federal law can be applied to trafficking cases.

5 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Defined By Federal Law
Domestic minor sex trafficking occurs when a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who has not attained 18 years of age is engaged in a commercial sex act.2 “Commercial sex act” means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. This includes: Prostitution Exotic dancing/stripping Pornography 2 This definition is from the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005

6 Victims

7 Street Prostitution Street Prostitution, not Stripping Pornography
Phone sex Brothels Escort agencies Massage Parlors

8 12-14 is the average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the U.S.
U.S. Department of Justice - Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS)

9 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in the U.S.
According to Ernie Allen, Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), data shows 100,000 to 293,000 children have become sexual commodities. Nationally 450,000 children run away from home each year. 1 out of every 3 teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. Statistically, this means at least 150,000 children lured into prostitution each year. NISMART (National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children)

10 US Hot Spots 2004 USDOJ Annual Report - FBI identified 14 field offices located in areas where there is a high incidence of prostituted children Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington D.C.

11 Case Study: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Nevada
181 cases of juvenile prostitution were brought before Hon. William O. Voy between 8/24/05-12/31/06. 69 cases were trafficked within Nevada; 112 were trafficked from out-of-state. Ages ranged from 12 to 17 years old.

12 This map shows the home states for juveniles who were arrested for prostitution in Las Vegas within a 16 month timeframe. Example: 57 juveniles who were arrested for prostitution in Las Vegas were from California, 5 from Oregon, 2 from Georgia.

13 Who are the victims of domestic minor sex trafficking?
Youth of any ethnicity, race, or religion Youth of any socio-economic class Female, male, and transgender youth Youth of all ages, including teenagers Vulnerable youth

14 Who are especially vulnerable to domestic minor sex trafficking?
Youth with histories of abuse 59% of minors arrested for prostitution in Las Vegas ( ) had been victims of sexual assault and/or familial molestation. 74% had run away from home prior to arrest. (From Las Vegas Metro Police STOP Program, Las Vegas ) WestCare Nevada treated 46 minors involved in prostitution from ; 45 of them had a history of physical and/or sexual abuse.

15 Who are especially vulnerable to domestic minor sex trafficking?
Homeless, runaway or “throwaway” youth As many as 2.8 million children live on the streets, a third of whom are lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (The National Runaway Switchboard) Youth within the foster care system & child protective services - Over 500,000 children in the U.S. currently reside in some form of foster care. (The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)

16 Adult Street Prostitutes
41% of adults in my research reported started as minors 32 prostitutes from the drug area Routes of Recruitment: Pimps’ techniques and other circumstances that lead to street prostitution Kennedy et al., 2007 Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 15(2), 1-19 On my website

17 Traffickers/Pimps

18 Who Are the Pimps? Can be a pimp/trafficker, a boyfriend, father, mother, brother, uncle, a coach, a teacher or anyone exerting control over a prostituted adult or child, even a peer Not always organized criminals Both men and women of varying ages Any ethnicity or race

19 Pimps 75% of prostituted children reported that they were pimped
Department of Justice CEOS 40-80% of adults report being pimped Barry, 1995; Norton-Hawk, 2004; Silbert & Pines, 1983b; Williamson & Cluse-Tolar, 2002

20 Routes of Recruitment

21 1. Pimps - Love 16% of adults interviewed reported an emotional attachment to their pimp (Kennedy)

22 Turned out at age 16… I was dating someone who was 31. I had a legal job and was in school and one day he came home and he said he needed money for his daughter from his first marriage. And I told him I couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t getting paid till next Friday so he came home that night with a pair of heels and mini skirt and took me outside and told me to take what they gave me.

23 Grown up “boyfriend” taking her away for the weekend
Seduction process 6-12 months but in as little as 24 hours Grown up “boyfriend” taking her away for the weekend Most common method for non-abused minors

24 2. Pimp - Debt -19% of adults interviewed reported a friend as turning them out -often the “main girl” for the pimp (wife-in-law, bottom b***h)

25 3. Pimp - Drugs Drug dealers come up with a solution to help them pay for drug or repay for drugs already provided Using drugs prior to being prostituted

26 4. Pimp - Gorilla Brute force and kidnapping
Reported both domestically and internationally Movie “Trade”

27 5. Pimp – Authority Figure
Parent, foster parent, older sibling 12% of adults interviewed reported being turned out this way TVPA anyone under 18 is a trafficking victim

28 6. Substance Abuse Chose to prostitute to earn money for drugs

29 7. Financial Difficulties
No other source of income Prevalent among runaways 80% reporting financial needs lefts them no other option to entering prostitution (Bagley & Young, 1987) 55% of street girls work in prostitution as a way of earning money (Department of Justice, CEOS)

30 19, reported being stranded in a strange city after a fight with her boyfriend and stated: “I just was at a restaurant having coffee and, um, a rich man made me a very generous offer. Asked me if I was all right, if there was anything I needed help with. I explained that I had no means of getting home, and he bought me a ticket home and gave me money as well in return for sex which took about four minutes.”

31 8. Socialization/Normalization
Attracted to glamour and easy money 7 of 14 drawn to “thrill and adventures of the life” (Potterat, Phillips, Rothenberg & Darrow, 1995, p.333)

32 9. History of Sexual Abuse
Consistent finding in research, high levels of sexual abuse 96% of my sample reported being sexually assaulted prior to entering prostitution 73% reported childhood sexual abuse

33 “A friend of my mine … she got out and got money and I had been approached while I was waiting. And I figured I’m getting molested at home so why not get paid for it and get my rent covered.”

34 10. Sex Trade Hierarchy Escort -> Massage parlors -> Streets

35 Me/myself “I turned myself out. It was just me. It was me. I’m responsible.” -started at age 10

36 Who turned you out, or how did you begin working on the streets?

37 Techniques of pimps


39 Perpetrators of Violence
Black’s (1990) law dictionary simply defines a pimp as someone who obtains customers for a prostitute Reality – take their money through manipulation, threats and violence Silbert & Pines (1983) 66% of prostitutes were physically abused by pimps, over 50% were beaten regularly Pimp stick & Millar, 2001; Nixon et al., 2002; Sanders, 2001; Silbert & Pines, 1981, 1983b; Williamson & Cluse-Tolar, 2002 -walking stick, metal hangar doubled over and heated, plastic hangars

40 Based on information from Domestic Sex Trafficking: The Criminal Operations of the American Pimp. Polaris Project. 2006

41 Traumatic Bond Why don’t they leave?
“the development of strong emotional ties between two persons, with one person intermittently harassing, beating, threatening, abusing, or intimidating the other” (Dutton, 1995, p. 190). deny or emotionally numb themselves to the level of the violence that they are experiencing (Walker, 1998)

42 Psychopaths The Psychopath as Pimp Behaviorally Interpersonally
Spidel, A., Greaves, C. Cooper, B. S., Hervé, H., Hare, R. D., & Yuille, J.C., The Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services, 4 (4) Behaviorally Irresponsible, criminally versatile, parasitic Interpersonally Manipulative, deceitful, glib, display superficial charm Lack of empathy

43 22 offenders 36% of pimps compared to 20% of comparison populations met the cutoff of 30 for psychopathy on the PCL-R 75% were above 22.1 (mean for comparison sample) offenders who engage in acts of pimping exhibit many psychopathic traits

44 Why don’t pimps’ victims seek help?
Captivity, confinement and isolation - Victims have been locked in rooms and trunks of cars and isolated from friends and family Use and threat of violence - Victims have been beaten, raped, tortured, assaulted and threatened with weapons Fear, shame, self-blame and hopelessness - Victims have been so traumatized, they blame themselves for their abuse and/or see no way out of the situation From “Understanding Victim’s Mindset”. Polaris Project 2006.

45 Why don’t pimps’ victims seek help?
Dependency - Victims have become physically, financially or emotionally dependent on the trafficker; they have bonded with the abuser through traumatic bonding (a.k.a. Stockholm Syndrome) Distrust of law enforcement. - Victims are told that law enforcement will arrest or harm them

46 Why don’t pimps’ victims seek help?
Debt bondage - Victims are trapped in never ending cycles of fabricated debt and are made to believe they cannot leave until this debt is paid off. Misinformation/false promises - Victims are promised love, money, safety or other desires if they stay with the pimp. Lack of knowledge of social systems - Victims don’t know how and where to seek help.

47 Resources

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