The Economics of Pimping

A study about pimps reveals their business-savvy strategies.

This article in the Toronto Star mentions a study that pits the business models of pimps with… well, “legitimate” businesses.

Here’s some food for thought:

‘I had a quota of $600. If they came back with $550 or even $599, she had to just go back out,’ one pimp reported.

As a knee-jerk reaction, this seems horrible, cruel, and unethical towards the women. But for arguments’ sake, let’s re-frame it: if employees in, say, banking or real estate are given quotas to achieve and must work until those targets are met, is that unethical? Or is that just a part of the job? You might be saying: “But Becky, how can you go down this road?! We’re talking about women being forced to go back out on the street and perform x-many more sex acts until they achieve their quota!” And therein lies the key ick-factor. If these women are in sex work out of coercion, force, or a lack of awareness then this is absolutely, fundamentally, most certainly not okay. It’s abuse. But then again, the mere fact that their doing sex work is the problem, not the fact that they have been given quotas by pimps. Otherwise, if we’re talking about (a perhaps idealistic) model of sex work that is completely consensual, legal, regulated, and devoid of pimp/madame abuse, wouldn’t this be akin to putting in overtime? Isn’t that an agreed-upon aspect of many jobs?

I acknowledge the controversy of this and can appreciate that most pimp/prostitute relationships are probably exploitative, which invalidates my entire argument.

This study is reminiscent of the economics of crack dealing.

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