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Lies About Prostitution - 6) Pimps Exploit Prostitutes

How the stereotype of the pimp is used to persecute sex workers

Hermann Vogel : ''Do you like them?''
Hermann Vogel (1856 Flensburg – 1918 Paris): ''Do you like them?'' (from a dance of death cycle in the magazine ''L'Assiette de beurre'') Source: Bilderlexikon der Erotic, digital library, direct media..

The pimp and the Madam stereotypes

The myth of the pimp has deep roots in popular cultural.

The stereotype of the pimp that we often see in movies and TV is a man dressed in extravagant clothes who regularly beats his whores to keep them under control. He is selfish, greedy and cruel, and has no empathy for his women.

Part of the cliché is that the prostitute has a love/hate relationship with the pimp. She may be romantically in love with him. Or she may enjoy the masochistic aspect of being under his control.

Another classical form of proxenetism is the Madam: the woman in charge of a brothel. Although not as nasty as the stereotype of the pimp, she is also thought to be greedy and heartless.

Modern prostitutes aspire to be business owners

These two stereotypes are just part of the whole idea that prostitutes are powerless and exploited, and therefore in dire need of being rescued by the State.

But prostitutes aspire to a different way to do their business:

“The business owner is the sex worker, because most prostitutes that work freely and voluntarily do it independently.” Paula VIP, sex worker.

This is the ideal situation for many sex workers: to work independently as a small, autonomous business.

But the pimp stereotype is used to deny them security

However, there are some complications.

One is security. What happens if a client refuses to pay or gets rough?

Another is to establish and maintain a customer base.

Thus, a prostitute may decide to hire security, and share a database of trustworthy clients with other prostitutes.

The problem is, in many countries, anybody a sex worker hires for safety is considered a pimp. And if she shares a customer list with other prostitutes, she would be considered a pimp herself!

The Nordic Model still persecutes prostitutes

This is one of the loopholes the much-touted Nordic Model uses to persecute prostitutes.

This system - pioneered by Sweden and adopted by Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Canada and France - claims to persecute only Johns and pimps, and not the prostitutes themselves.

However, it gives proxenetism such a wide definition that it includes many of the things that the prostitutes do in the course of their business.

In Spain, the ruling party PSOE recently tried to introduce legislation that would make even renting an apartment to a prostitute, or receiving money earned for sex work, a crime of proxenetism.

Hence the prosecution of proxenetism, sold to the public as a fight against “trafficking”, is at the core of a political strategy of eliminating prostitution, not just by jailing the sex workers, but also by depriving them of the support system that they need for their work.


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