Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Breaking the Cycle of Pimps

A study was done earlier this month by Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell of the DePaul College of Law regarding the business of pimping and the background of pimps. The study interviewed 25 ex-pimps from the Chicago area. What they uncovered from the study is quite eye opening and alarming.

Most of the former pimps had been abused physically, sexually, and with drugs and alcohol as children. 48% of them ran away from home to avoid these abuses, and many of them were then trafficked into the sex industry.

What a pimp does is horrific, wrong and can not be excused. But from this study, I glean a new outlook on what needs to be done to combat human trafficking here in the United States as well as a better understanding of the business of pimping.

Ending trafficking and modern slavery requires a multi-faceted approach, one of which involves breaking the cycle of pimps. There is a cycle, similar to what's seen in domestic abuse and child abuse cases, apparent in pimping.

One participant said his father was
a pimp and his mother a prostituted woman.
“I was raised in the game. It was a way of life in
my household and neighborhood. It was almost

One hundred percent of the women in our
sample began in the sex trade industry by
selling their own bodies between the ages of
nine and 25, with the average age of onset at 14.
They all ended up pimping, and it was not
totally voluntary.

“My mother was my first
pimp. She used to sell me to the landlord and
other men who wanted a young girl. She was a
junkie... I thought it was normal...I just hope what I’m
telling you can help someone not end up
feeling and looking like me.”"

To break this cycle we have to educate and protect children, both boys and girls in high risk areas. I don't have the answers on how to accomplish this, but if we can protect and provide the treatment these abused boys and girls desperately need, then maybe we can prevent the next generation of pimps from ever forming. That's only one facet. To fully end sex trafficking, it will also take ending the demand, more education, more prosecutions and more awareness.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas regarding this study. What solutions do you see and how does this study change your view of pimping and trafficking, if at all?

As always, thank you for reading and keep up the good fight.

Thank You,

"From Victims to Victimizers:Interviews with 25 Ex-Pimps in Chicago," by Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell

"Most Pimps Were Trafficked, Abused as Children," by Amanda Kohler


  1. This is truly gripping. The cycle is so complicated and horrific. So many areas need to be addressed. And it's so hard because as you pointed out here, so many of the pimps were abused themselves. I was shocked to see the statistics on domestic violence and that 100% of women pimps had themselves been pimped. I'll definitely be sharing this as well. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your comments Karen. It does bring up a troubling/interesting facet of trafficking and pimping. I received your email as well and I will be in touch.