Pimps tend to be like prostitutes: abused as children, once sold their own bodies: study

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation conference on sex trafficking at DePaul finds interesting conclusions
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April 16, 2009

BY ANNIE SWEENEY Crime Reporter asweeney@suntimes.com
In television, movies and music, they exude cool and confidence.

But a new study has found out something else about some Chicago pimps — like the women they often peddle on the sex market, they are victims of sexual abuse and have sold their own bodies for sex.

A new study finds that the popular image of pimps as cool guys in control isn’t exactly accurate.
(AP file)

“That’s the persona they put on,” study author Jody Raphael said of popular images of pimps. “Underneath, they are no different than the women. … They come from the same households and dysfunction as the women do.” Continue reading

Hooking Without Crooking

Prostitution is nice work if you can get it decriminalized
by Juliet November

I’m buzzed into the storefront, which is marked only by a street number, and walk through the empty lounge to a garish pink staff room, where about eight women sit around chatting in a cloud of smoke and hairspray. There’s Genevieve, the fortyish French-Greek siren with cascading waves of black hair; and a twenty-year-old Australian farm girl, Anna, who clomps around in her high heels and trades her corset for a Led Zeppelin T-shirt the second she’s off shift. I set myself up at the long, mirrored vanity beside someone I haven’t seen here before, a short woman with flawless black skin and enormous eyes. My ears perk up at her accent. I ask her where she’s from. “Toronto, Canada.” “Me, too!” I squeal, and we spend the rest of the night bonding over quirky Australian expressions. (Fair dinkum? Seriously, what is that?) It’s my second month working in this Sydney brothel, and I’m learning that the biggest pleasures are often the most unexpected.

Rewind to a few years ago. I’m sipping a gin and tonic at a College Street bar with colleagues from the feminist organization where I work, and the subject of prostitution comes up. One woman shakes her head and recites the familiar argument about the shameful exploitation of prostitutes. Another disagrees, saying she loved working as a professional dominant/submissive in a dungeon. I nod, silently regretting that I can only guess what that was like. Then I say something that surprises even me: “I think I may have missed my calling as a prostitute.” Continue reading