This information was gathered from our survey of 300 prostituted women through our social network outreach program. Every couple days over the month of August, we are adding a new stat from our findings to help you better understand the women we are working with. Read the whole series right here on the Free Our Girls blog.
We found that 62% of women publicly and openly confirmed, through photos and specific language, that they were currently working under the control of a pimp. Of the women that did not confirm to currently being under the control of a pimp, a majority referenced at some point through their social media posts that they had had a pimp at one time or another during their time in the commercial sex industry.
What can this tell us about women involved in commercial sex work? One national study claims that approximately 90% of prostituted women have a pimp. Our small observational study on social media indicates that this is more than likely a fairly accurate estimate. The women who confirmed having pimps have been completely indoctrinated into this subculture, and much of their posts and conversations comply with the “Rules of the Game” which include not interacting with pimps besides their own, and only socializing with the intention of recruiting more women to work for their pimp. Those who shared photos of their pimps often include captions claiming their loyalty and devotion to this person.
Also interesting to note was the fact that four women are under the control of pimps who are currently in jail, two of them serving sentences longer than 2 years. This further illustrates the emotional and psychological chains, trauma bonding, and brain washing that occurs during the grooming process. And while 99% of the pimps pictured on these women’s pages were black males, there was 1 white male, and 1 Hispanic female that fill the role as pimp to some of these young women.
Lastly, it is important to remember that once again, this was a purely observational study, meaning that many more women in our sample group could possibly be currently under the control of a pimp but chose not to share this information publicly. Two possible reasons why women chose not to picture their exploiter include the fact that they understand the legal repercussions of implicating them in this way, and for those women who use their social media accounts to advertise their services, indicating to potential clients that they work for a pimp can drive business away.