Pimponomics 101: Real-Life Pimps Are Nothing Like the Ones on TV

Posted: September 22, 2015 in Human Trafficking Is...
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Pimponomics is a new informational series here at the Stop Human Trafficking Action Group website that will cover everything you need to know about how pimps lure and control their victims, thrive in the prostitution and sexual exploitation industry, and are glorified in media due to our culture’s ignorance of what a pimp really is.

The first article of the series Pimponomics 101 focuses on the definition of “pimp” and the three unique tactics pimps use to lure a victim into a life of sexual exploitation.

Pimp (pimp)

  1. a person, especially a man, who solicits customers for a prostitute or brothel, usually in return for a share in the earnings.
  2. a despicable person.


  1. to act as a pimp for.
  2. to exploit.

Notice how neither of those definitions includes a badass player, which is what you see portrayed in TV shows and movies. That’s because there’s nothing badass about being a pimp.


Pimps fall into three different categories defined by how they approach their victim: Gorilla Pimp, Romeo Pimp, and CEO pimp, according to Sowers Education Group.



photo by Kymberly Janisch

  1. Gorilla Pimp

Gorilla pimps (also called Godzilla pimps) are identified by the use of force and physical abuse unleashed on their victim. They typically use kidnapping, violence, drugs, and blackmail to control and subdue.

Target Prey—Gorillas typically pursue teens at a mall, a party, or on social media.


The lines they use include…

  • Come, party with me.
  • Don’t tell anyone where you’re going.
  • If you don’t do what I say, I’ll post these (naked or embarrassing) pictures of you all over the Internet.

Who to Watch for—“Men 18+ who hang with younger girls or overly friendly girls (recruiters) who persistently invite other teens to party and drink/do drugs with them,” states Sower Education Group.

photo by Stephanie

photo by Stephanie

  1. Romeo Pimp

Romeo pimps use sweet talk, compliments, gifts, and romance to attract a victim.

Target Prey—Romeo pimps typically target young girls looking for love and acceptance, runaways in need of shelter and protection, or those naïve and trusting who believe the lies the Romeo pimp tells them.


The lines they use include…

  • I love you.
  • Nobody else understands me.
  • I’ll give you everything you deserve.
  • I can’t live without you.
  • Dream with me.

Who to Watch for—“Guys who fall in love too quickly, guys or girls (recruiters) who encourage teens to run away from home, promising a happier life,” according to Sowers Education Group.

photo by 401(K) 2012

photo by 401(K) 2012

  1. CEO Pimp

CEO pimps approach sexual exploitation and prostitution as a business, the buying and selling of human beings as a transaction and their victims as property.

Target Prey—CEO pimps look for potential victims who are looking for a career in acting or modeling, especially naïve young women away from home.


The lines they use include…

  • I’m an agent.
  • You have what it takes to make it in this industry. Trust me.
  • This is strictly business.
  • I can make you rich.
  • Fill out this form (personal information).

Who to Watch for—“Men who promise stardom and “agents” who are too pushy or want bikini or ’artistically nude’ photos,” according to Sowers Education Group.


What All Three Types of Pimps Have in Common

Despite the fact that all three pimps use different tactics to lure their victim, there are a few similarities.

All pimps use intimidation and threats of some kind to control or “break” their victim’s will. By beating, raping, yelling, showing weapons, threatening, physical punishments, emotional manipulation, drugs, isolation, starvation, humiliation, etc., pimps are able to control their victim and force them to sell their bodies day after day.

“Most [women] have low self-esteem for a reason,” states a real-life CEO pimp, Pimpin’ Ken Ivy in Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game. “A pimp looks for that weakness, and if it isn’t on the surface, he brings that mother***er out of them. It doesn’t matter to a pimp what [a woman’s] weaknesses are, so long as they have them. Then he uses those weaknesses to his advantage. Weakness is the best trait a person can find in someone they want to control. If you can’t find a weakness, you have to create one. You have to tear someone’s ego down to nothing before they will start looking to you for salvation.”


What You Can Do

The first thing you can do is not accept the glamorization of pimps and prostitutes in media and raise awareness about the truth. Let it be known pimping is not something to aspire to and emulate. Refuse to purchase DVDs, CDs, movie tickets, etc. where pimps are glorified and portrayed as someone to admire and respect. You wouldn’t be approving of someone bragging about domestic violence, yet a majority of pimps do use violence to control their victims.
“We can also educate legislators so they’ll toughen our statutes governing’pandering,’ which is the legal term for pimping,” writes J. Patrick Coolican, a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.

“Las Vegas Metro Police Detective Chris Baughman says the toughest sentence he can get is four years, five if there’s violence. But he says that pimps sometimes only get probation, especially if the women are afraid or unwilling to testify. Just five years for violently enslaving another human being? Also, pimps should be classified as sex offenders and forced to register as such once released. If we’re worried about the prison costs, we should reduce the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders.”


Also, you can sign a petition to vote “No” to decriminalizing pimps.




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