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Template:Infobox Occupation A pimp is an agent for prostitutes who lives off their earnings. Pimping is illegal in most countries. The majority of pimps are men. A woman who runs a brothel is known as a madam. The pimp-prostitute relationship can be abusive, with the pimp using techniques such as psychological intimidation, manipulation and physical force to control the prostitutes who work for him.[1] Pimps are known under the law as procurers. In the United States, pimps are arrested and charged with pandering.


The word pimp first appeared in English in 1607 in a Thomas Middleton play entitled Your Five Gallants. It is believed to have stemmed from the French infinitive pimper meaning to dress up elegantly and from the present participle pimpant meaning alluring in dress seductive. Pimp used as a verb, meaning to act as a pimp, first appeared in 1636 in Massinger's book, The Bashful Lover.[2] In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term was commonly used to refer to informers.[3] A pimp can also mean "a despicable person".[4] The term can also be applied to a person who is considered a ladies' man.[2]

The verb "pimping" came up in the early 17th century.[2] In the first years of the 21st century, a new meaning of the word has emerged in the form of a transitive verb pimp, which means "to decorate" or "to gussy up" (compare primp, especially in Scottish usage). This new definition was made popular by Pimp My Ride, an MTV television show.[2] Although this new definition paid homage to hip-hop culture and its connection to street culture, it has now entered common, even mainstream commercial, use.[5] In medical contexts, the verb also means "to ask (a student) a question for the purpose of testing his knowledge".[6]

Business of pimping

Pimping is sometimes operated like a business.[7] The pimp may have a bottom girl who serves as office manager, keeping the pimp apprised of law-enforcement activity and collecting money from the prostitutes.[8] Pimps recognize a hierarchy among themselves. The least respected, or newer pimps, are the "popcorn pimps" and "wannabes". A pimp who uses violence and intimidation to control his prostitutes is called a "Jonas pimp", while those who use psychological trickery to deceive younger prostitutes into becoming hooked into the system are called "finesse pimps". An important part of the business is obtaining and maintaining a selection of prostitutes. Losing one's prostitute to another pimp is known as being "peeled". Informing a pimp that one of his prostitutes has switched pimps is a professional courtesy, and any attempt to respond to this courtesy with violence will quickly get the violent pimp labeled a "Gorilla" or "Godzilla". Prostitutes who move between pimps often are labeled as a "Choosey Susie". In addition, a prostitute may "bounce" from pimp to pimp without paying the "pimp moving" tax.[9]

The pimp business has an internal structure - built around violence - for dealing with rule breakers. For example, pimps have been known to employ a "pimp stick", which is two coat hangers wrapped together, in order to subdue unruly prostitutes.[8] A variation is a "pimp cane", used for similar purposes.[citation needed] Another punishment for disobedient prostitutes is to "trunk" them, where the pimp locks the prostitute in the trunk of a car. Although prostitutes are supposedly free to move between pimps, this movement sometimes leads to violence. For example, a prostitute could be punished for merely looking at another pimp; this is considered "reckless eyeballing".[8] Violence is also used on customers, for example if the customer attempts to evade payment or becomes unruly with a prostitute.

Use of tattoos

Many pimps tattoo prostitutes as a mark of "ownership".[10][11] The tattoo will often be the pimp's street or even his likeness. The mark might be as discreet as ankle tattoo, or blatant as a neck tattoo, or large scale font across the prostitute's lower back, thigh, chest, or buttocks.[12]

Use of the Internet

As of 2009, prostitution on the Internet has been flourishing as many sex workers have moved to internet sites such as Craigslist to solicit sexual encounters. In turn, pimps have used these sites to broker their women.[13] Some tech-savvy pimps use social networking sites such as MySpace or Twitter to recruit naive, troubled and often underage users. According to Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, the Internet has given pimps the ability to recruit young people not just from poor, broken homes, but from a broad spectrum of society.[13]

Notable pimps

See also


External links

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