Thursday, April 16, 2009

An End to R-E-S-P-E-C-T for P-I-M-P-S

At the Karma Nightclub in Minneapolis a few days ago, April 5, there was a Players Ball.

Let’s stop for a minute. That’s a publicly-advertised wild bash at a nightclub, celebrating pimps’ business… What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s bad enough that we look at the record of arrests related to prostitution and we find that manifold more prostituted females are arrested and punished than pimping males. That is one reason the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008 aptly requires statistics on those arrested in prostitution to separate the numbers of arrests for prostituted people from the johns and pimps.

Pimps regularly engage in the force, fraud, and coercion that under the law qualify them as sex traffickers – whether or not the females they victimize are foreign nationals or U.S. citizens. But what’s worse is a culture which lionizes pimps. Pimps are celebrated as hip – in film, in television, in music lyrics. They are seen as cool for “sticking it to the man.” They are treated like they are admirable iconoclasts rebelling against the Establishment.

But just think about how their true specialty is acting out against the woman. To the woman from whom they take every cent received from johns, upon threat of punishment — to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. To the woman they allegedly protect but regularly intimidate and beat. The regular violence pimps employ is far from the glamorized image in popular music, videos, TV, and films. Take it from Rachel Lloyd, a survivor of sex trafficking who leads Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), “So what’s it really like for us? They never tell us that we’ll never see any of the money we make…the beatings, the physical torture we’ll receive.”

Read the rest of Ambassador Mark Lagon's blog post here.

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