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Pimp-Controlled Prostitution: Still an Integral Part of Street Life

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 8 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 1074-1092
Celia Williamson; Terry Cluse-Tolar
Date Published
September 2002
19 pages
This study examined pimp-related violence toward women involved in street-level prostitution within the context of pimp-controlled prostitution.
A pimp is one that controls the actions and lives off the proceeds of one or more women working the streets. Despite a steady increase in independent prostitution, research indicates that pimp-controlled prostitution is still a reality for some women involved in street-level prostitution. Control of prostituted women by pimps involves understanding the “wants” of these women and controlling those wants through the use of threats, intimidation, and violence. The method used for understanding the traditional pimp-prostitute phenomenon was through qualitative research, specifically the Glaserian approach to grounded theory methodology. Information regarding the traditional pimp-prostitute phenomenon was obtained from a larger study that included both independent and pimp-controlled women. Findings suggest that pimp-controlled prostitution is still an integral part of street-level prostitution for some women and girls. Just how many is difficult to determine because pimp-controlled women and girls would be those most unlikely to be able to respond to requests for interviews. The power and control pimps maintain over women in their stable are related to that used in abusive relationships. Women working for pimps have limited time, set schedules, and often pre-set quotas. Women working in pimp-controlled prostitution seem to be similar to those that are survivors of domestic violence. There is a need for increased research involving women engaged in pimp-controlled prostitution. By not including pimp-controlled prostitutes in present studies, researchers may be misrepresenting the true character and total prevalence of street-level prostitution. These findings challenge researchers to delve further into this often forgotten area of contemporary prostitution research. 2 notes, 37 references