Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A pimp is an informal term for a man who runs a brothel or otherwise oversees prostitution. The female counterpart to a pimp is a madam. Typically, a pimp will solicit clients for, protect, and in other ways manage a prostitute in exchange for a commission on her earnings.
Often, pimps will initially present themselves as lovers or father-figures to women before introducing them to prostitution and drug addiction. Although most pimp-prostitute relationships are abusive, few pimps use physical force or beat their prostitutes as marks and bruises bring down both the price of a prostitute and the social status of her pimp.
Pimping (synonymous with prostitution) is a sex crime in many jurisdictions. In 1949, the United Nations adopted a convention stating that prostitution is incompatible with human dignity, requiring all signing parties to punish pimps and brothel owners and operators, and to abolish all special treatment or registration of prostitutes. The convention was ratified by 89 countries with the exception of Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States.
In the Netherlands and Germany, prostitution is legal. (See Prostitution in the Netherlands and Prostitution in Germany for more information.) In Australia, pimping is legal although "street prostitution" is explicitly banned.
The number of pimps and the level of dependency to them subjected by prostitutes is usually higher in areas where prostitution is illegal or heavily restricted. In places where prostitution is largely unrestricted, the power of pimps over prostitutes often decreases on the interpersonal level while increasing on the business level, since the prostitutes are less in need of protection and the pimps are seen more as accountable business men by the local community.
Pimps in Popular Culture
In the United States, urban pimps and prostitutes constitute a colorful and often overly dramatized subculture. This sub-culture has been portrayed, with varying accuracy, in a number of blaxploitation films. Typically, American pimps are shown dressed in wild, flashy clothes. American pimps are also know as "Macks" and often refer to their business as "The Game".
Most of these blaxploitation films define a pimp as someone from the lower class urban setting without a higher education, although this is not always the case.
There have also been depictions of pimps in American films that have depicted pimps as coming from within the elite of society, such as the character portrayed by Eddie Albert in Robert Aldrich's film Hustle (1975)
In Shakespearean times, the word "fishmonger" was a euphemism for pimp.
The term "pimp" is sometimes used figuratively, as in poverty pimp.
Famous pimps and alleged pimps
- Detroit Red
- Don 'Magic' Juan
- Iceberg Slim
- Jelly Roll Morton
- Snoop Dogg (self-styled)
- Stephen Ward
- Too $hort
- U.S. DOJ guide to street prostitution
- FBI press release: Twelve pimps sentenced for prostituting children
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