Sex Trafficking and the Pimp Culture

Doreen’s Story

Part 1

Early one Sunday morning, Advanced Bio Treatment was dispatched to a motel to clean and sanitize an unattended death in a room used as a meth lab. Even our most seasoned technicians dread unattended deaths in which a body has lain for days or weeks and is in an advanced stage of decomposition. When we get there, the body has been removed by the medical examiner, but the ME does not remove the odor, which permeates everything – walls, drapes, furniture, upholstery – and the ME does not remove the grizzly remnants of what was almost always a the terrible death – pools of blood, tissue, body parts, bio-hazardous bodily fluids such as urine, feces, and vomit.

And this call would be exponentially worse than most because this unattended death was a child.

The newly hired, young housekeeper who had found the body was traumatized because she had gotten to know the victim, who had befriended the housekeeper and confided in her over the two weeks the victim had stayed at the motel.

The child’s name was Doreen, and she had turned 14 just the previous week. Along with six other girls between the ages of 13 and 16, she was kept in this room by a pimp who used the room to cook meth, deal drugs, and sell children to men who pay to rape them.

“We never cleaned the room, customer’s request,” the housekeeper told police. “We were told by the manager not to. That happens sometimes when people just don’t want to be disturbed, so we don’t clean it till they check out. I saw those young kids in and out of there all the time, and I felt so bad for them, but I promised Doreen. I promised her.”

Doreen had begged the housekeeper not to say anything. “JD will kill us if he catches us talking to anyone,” she had pleaded. “Or worse. Please don’t tell!” And the housekeeper didn’t tell – until today, when the manager sent her down to the room because he suspected the customer had left without paying.

How are children like Doreen lured into sex trafficking?

According to Alternet, 42% of sex trafficking is pimp-controlled, and 40% of the victims are under age 18. Pimps “recruit” their victims by befriending them.

Pimps know where to find children: at schools, malls, homeless shelters, bus stations, and rehab centers. So they hang out near these places and spend time and money gaining the child’s trust. Pimps also “recruit” by getting close to their victim’s friends. The pimp’s most common modus operandi is to show a romantic, protective interest in the victim.

The Pimp Culture

Pimps are now part of mainstream culture. Through “Pimp and Ho” theme parties, an energy drink called “Pimp Juice,” music videos, TV shows, and movies, a distorted image of the pimp is hustled to America’s youth. This repackaged pimp has power, fame, and wealth and all their desirable accoutrements: sex, beautiful women, mansions, yachts, and millions of adoring fans. The pervasive message is that he gets these things by trafficking women and children.

But Pimp culture portrays pimps as likeable, comical, and harmless men who dress flamboyantly, drive outrageous cars, and invite us sympathize with their difficult life.

As our culture once glorified the Mafia with movies like The Godfather, the pimp culture glorifies the pimp while it objectifies and demonizes women. Jay-Z’s single “Big Pimpin’” made Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P” music video and a live performance at the MTV Music Video Awards feature a man walking two women on leashes.

Three 6 Mafia’s single “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won an Oscar for best original song in the movie Hustle & Flow.  All are widely popular songs in mainstream America. All express violent, belittling attitudes toward women and portray them as model-quality sex objects whom the pimp uses, abuses, and controls.

The key character in the movie Hustle and Flow is DJay, a pimp and drug dealer who aspires to be a rapper and produces several tracks that glamorize pimping and attempt to generate sympathy for the pimp with the title song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” The character Shug is a pregnant prostitute who sings choruses for one of DJay’s tracks and dissolves in heartbroken tears when he is arrested on an unrelated charge.

The animated film Lil’ Pimp features a nine-year-old boy who wants to be a pimp, his mother who disguises herself as a prostitute, a pimp named “Fruit Juice” who grooms the nine-year-old for his chosen profession, and a corrupt mayor who steals and traffics Fruit Juice’s prostitutes. Famous actors, including William Shatner, are the character voices.

The word “pimp” itself has become an everyday slang expression widely used by young people to mean “cool” or “bling.” As a verb, the word now means “improve” or “make better,” as in the popular MTV show “Pimp My Ride.” In each episode, a kid’s beat-up car is restored and customized. “Pimp My Shell” is the title of a featurette for the animated movie Turbo. The term describes the way groups of the snails customize their shells in preparation for racing because “some snails know it’s not just how fast you go but also how good you look.”

What happens when a culture strips a word of the literal violence that it denotes and assigns it a positive connotation?  As the word loses its association with violence and crime, so does the image it represents.

The way people see the literal pimp has gradually changed, and now they no longer see him for what he really is. Because the pimp culture renders him “cool,” it is much easier for a real pimp to gain the trust and respect of the children he targets. What in reality is a violent criminal who traffics children and women and lives like a parasite on what they earn through prostitution becomes what Rolling Stone affectionately dubs the former pimp and now famous rapper Snoop Dogg:  “America’s most lovable Pimp.” Snoop Dogg’s advisor and touring companion is Bishop Don Magic Juan, a cultural icon who is also a former pimp.

Glamorizing the pimp suggests a dangerous acceptance and lack of a meaningful understanding of what he does. Pimp culture perpetuates the attitude that sexual violence and sex trafficking of women and children are no big deal.

When a child encounters a real pimp, the pimp culture has already subtly but firmly planted an image in the child’s mind of what a “pimp” is. And it bears absolutely no resemblance to the real pimp who is stalking her.

Over the three days during which we cleaned and sanitized the room in which Doreen died, the young housekeeper told us about the child she had befriended.

In our next blog, we will tell you that shocking and tragic story.

We are Advanced Bio Treatment. We are here for you 24 hours every day of the year. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.


More About The Dangers of Pimp Culture:

CNN – Pimp Culture Glamorization

The F-Bomb – How The Media Sells Pimp Culture

The Grio – Jay Zs Big Pimpin Regret A Blueprint For Hip Hop Culture


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment