Procuring or pandering popularly known as pimping, is the facilitation or provision of a prostitute in the arrangement of a sex act with a customer. Examples of procuring include:
- trafficking a prostitute into a country for the purpose of soliciting sex
- operating a prostitution business
- transporting a prostitute to the location of their arrangement
- deriving financial gain from the prostitution of another
A procurer, colloquially called a pimp (if male) or a madam (if female), is an agent for prostitutes who collects part of their earnings. The procurer may receive this money in return for advertising services, physical protection, or for providing, and possibly monopolizing, a location where the prostitute may engage clients. Like prostitution, the legality of certain actions of a madam or a pimp vary from one region to the next.
In most places where prostitution is illegal, so is procuring, whether the relationship between the procurer and prostitute is formal or informal. Where prostitution is decriminalized or regulated, procuring may or may not be legal. If it is legal, however, it is only forms that do not involve threats or other forms of non-consensual acts towards the prostitute or other persons that are permitted. In jurisdictions where procuring is allowed, the regulations of if differ widely from place to place.
Pimping is sometimes operated like a business. The pimp may have a bottom girl who serves as office manager, keeping the pimp apprised of law-enforcement activity and collecting money from the prostitutes. Pimps recognize a hierarchy among themselves. The least respected, or newer pimps, are the "popcorn pimps" and "wannabes". A pimp who uses violence and intimidation to control his prostitutes is called a "Jonas pimp", while those who use psychological trickery to deceive younger prostitutes into becoming hooked into the system are called "finesse pimps". An important part of the business is obtaining and maintaining a selection of prostitutes. Losing one's prostitute to another pimp is known as being "peeled". Informing a pimp that one of his prostitutes has switched pimps is a professional courtesy, and any attempt to respond to this courtesy with violence will quickly get the violent pimp labeled a "Gorilla" or "Godzilla". Prostitutes who move between pimps often are labeled as a "Choosey Susie". In addition, a prostitute may "bounce" from pimp to pimp without paying the "pimp moving" tax.
A large percentage of pimps in the United States are also documented gang members, which causes concerns for police agencies in jurisdictions where prostitution is a significant problem. Pimping rivals narcotic sales as a major source of funding for many gangs, this is particularly true with African American gangs. Gangs need money to survive, and money equates to power and respect. While selling drugs may be lucrative for a gang, this activity often carries significant risk as stiff legal penalties and harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws exist. However, with pimping, gang members still make money while the prostitutes themselves bear the majority of the risk. Pimping has several benefits to the gang that the pimp belongs to. These benefits include it helps the gang recruit new members because the gang has women available for sex and the money brought in by prostitution allows gang members to buy cars, clothes and weapons, all of which help to recruit younger members into the gang by increasing the reputation of the gang in the local gang subculture. The presence of gangs (and weapons and drugs) is a virtual guarantee when prostitutes are present, which is why many law enforcement agencies advocate taking an aggressive stance against prostitutes. Many vice units work to ascertain if the prostitute they have arrested has a pimp, and if so they pressure them to provide information about their pimp and the gang involved. This information can then be used to go after the more serious and violent offenders.
The pimp business has an internal structure – built around violence – for dealing with rule breakers. For example, pimps have been known to employ a "pimp stick", which is two coat hangers wrapped together, in order to subdue unruly prostitutes. A variation is a "pimp cane", used for similar purposes. Another punishment for disobedient prostitutes is to "trunk" them, where the pimp locks the prostitute in the trunk of a car. Although prostitutes are supposedly free to move between pimps, this movement sometimes leads to violence. For example, a prostitute could be punished for merely looking at another pimp; this is considered "reckless eyeballing". Violence is also used on customers, for example if the customer attempts to evade payment or becomes unruly with a prostitute.
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