“Unpredictable violence along with love and admiration.”

Description of eventual relationship between victim and pimp sex trafficker***


of pimp traffickers are male**
percent of pimp traffickers who left trafficking by choice**
of pimp traffickers are family members***
percent of pimp traffickers who said they enjoyed the work**
Range of yearly income made by victims and taken by pimp trafficker**

How traffickers justify forcing another person to sell sex**

Say they are helping the victim by:

  • Feeding and clothing her

  • Giving power back to her

  • Teaching her not to give her body away for free

  • Believe sex-trade industry is embraced by society

  • See pimping as a safe way to make money, with little chance of arrest

  • Justification for working as a pimp sex trafficker in a nutshell: Since there is an unending demand for sex and the world accepts it, there is no reason to feel guilty about it

How traffickers justify making money by forcing person to sell sex**

  • Verbal abuse (85%)

  • Make live/stay in a certain place (75%)

  • Take all money (69%)

  • Tell them they owes him for food and clothing (63%)

  • Threaten to leave them (69%)

  • Threaten to hurt them (68%)

  • Keep victim from visiting family and friends (62%)

How traffickers control victim***

Pimp traffickers look for two types of victims:*

  1. A younger woman — most often underage — desperate for love and attention whom he lavishes with “nice” things (75% of traffickers say they specifically target this kind of victim)

  2. A woman already in the commercial sex industry — such an exotic dancer

In both cases, he begins the relationship by making the woman believe he loves her.

In the case of the younger woman, part of his tactics includes conditioning her into selling sex within a few months of meeting her. And he makes her believe she is doing it because she loves him.

Here, just click on a picture in the honeycomb to read — in a pimp's own words — about his strategies and timeline:

When I first meet her

When I first meet her

I am looking for girl who has low self-esteem and is desperate for attention. She is easy spot. She's the one who smiles too quickly when a stranger shows an interest or gives her a compliment.

In the first week

In the first week

I would tell her how beautiful she was and wonder how I ever lived without her. I would tell her that even though there have been other girls, she was more special to me then anyone, and I would buy her gifts to prove it to her. After a few days, I would tell her that I loved her.

In the second week

In the second week

I would tell her several times a day that I loved her and that I would always take care of her. I would call her often to see how she was doing and do small things, like giving her my jacket if she was cold, to show that I loved her. I would tell her I couldn’t live without her and say that I don’t know what I would do if she ever left me. I would convince her to skip school or not go to work so we could spend time together.

In the third week

In the third week

I would tell her that I loved her so much, I would hurt myself if she ever left me. I would make her spend every night at my house and, if she didn’t, I would accuse her of cheating. I would say that if she trusted me, she would show me all her phone calls and texts. After a while, I would just keep her phone. I would find ways to isolate her. I would always start a fight before she visited her family so eventually she would just stop going. After the fight, I would cry and promise to change.

In the fourth week

In the fourth week

I would say, “If you really loved me” to get her to do things she didn’t want to, like shoplifting. I would have her go with me to do something illegal and tell her it was because she was the only person I trusted. I would offer to hold onto her ID in case she got arrested. But when she wanted it back, I would say that if she trusted me to take care of her, she wouldn’t need it back. I would try to convince her she was crazy. I’d hide her stuff then tell her how stupid she was for losing things.

In the fifth week

In the fifth week

I would tell her that I owed a man some money, but that if she just kissed him a little and made him feel like a man, I wouldn’t have to pay him back. Then we could use to money to take a romantic trip. I would tell her that I couldn’t stay in the room while they fooled around because I couldn’t stand to see her touching another guy, but I would be right outside the whole time. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I would come back inside and tell her I couldn’t stand it anymore and it was time to go.

Two days later

Two days later

I would tell her that we didn’t have enough to pay the rent but that the man she had kissed thought she was really pretty and he would give us a lot of money if she would just touch his genitals. I would stay outside for 10 minutes and then come back in. Then I’d make a show of using the money to treat her to dinner or a movie.

In another two days

In another two days

When she next goes to the man’s house, I stay in the car. After, I tell her there is another man who thinks she is really beautiful and would like to see her. If she starts to say no, I would say, “Baby, you’ve done it before. This isn’t any different.” If she still has a problem, I would remind her about those illegal things we did together and tell her I had proof that she was to blame. I would tell her that if she ever tried to leave me, I would turn her over to the cops.

In the sixth week

In the sixth week

I would introduce her to my other girls, but, except for the men she has sex with, still keep her isolated. The few times I let her go out alone, I follow her without her knowing. Then later, I would describe every place she went to make her believe I could her find if she tried to run away. I tell her that if she does run away, I will kill her or her family. I have the other girls tell her about all the times I beat them up. I take all her money so she depends on me for everything.

Within three months of meeting her

Within three months of meeting her

I would have her working the streets full time, doing 12 dates a day, with 84 men a week.

By the time I'm finished with her

By the time I'm finished with her

She no longer even wants to talk with her family because she's so ashamed of what she's done. I don't need to watch her at all anymore and when I bring a new girl in, she's the one helping me keep her in line. I know how to control my women.

third week

fourth week

sixth week

second week

first week


two days later

fifth week

within three months

in another two days


 “We eat, drink and sleep thinking of ways to trick young girls into doing what we want them to do.”
— Pimp trafficker**

Look for blonde runaways with “broken bones, unhappy with parents, abused by some sucker.” — Pimp trafficker**

“Any player can tell you when a girl has the look of desperation that you know she needs attention or love. It’s something that you start to have a sixth sense about.”

— Pimp trafficker**

* — Roe-Sepowitz et al. The Sexual Exploitation of Girls in the United States: The Role of Female Pimps Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2015, Vol. 30(16) 2814–2830

** — Raphael, J. and Myers-Powell, B. “From Victims to Victimizers: Interviews with 25 Ex-Pimps in Chicago.” Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center of DePaul University College of Law September. 2010.

*** — Raphael, J., Reichert, J., and Powers, M. “Pimp Control and Violence: Domestic Sex Trafficking of Chicago Women and Girls.” 2010. Women & Criminal Justice. 20:1-2, 89-104

# — Sterk, C., and Elifson, K. Drug-related Violence and Street Prostitution. 1990. (NIDA Research Monograph No. 103). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

+ — Raymond, J., Hughes, D., and Gomez, C. “Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States: International and Domestic Trends.” 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice

% — Lederer, L., and Wetzel, C. “The health consequences of sex trafficking and their implications for identifying victims in healthcare facilities.” 2014. Annals of Health Law. 23:61–91.