A Michigan State University criminal justice professor has analyzed the current state of America’s pimping industry in an intensive three-year study.
The professor, Mary Finn, conducted her in-depth pimping review by interviewing 71 pimps in Chicago and Atlanta. She found them online and paid them $60 each to get the scoop on how the middle men involved in the world’s oldest profession are now doing business.
Here are some of the details of Finn’s findings, according to Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV.
The average American pimp brings home a solid middle-class income. The 71 macks in Chicago and Atlanta who participated in Finn’s study said they make an average annual income of about $75,000. That’s $6,250 per month — probably pretty much tax free.
“A third of them made over $100,000 a year,” the professor told WDIV-TV.
By contrast, the median yearly household income in the United States in 2015 was $55,775, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Thus, America’s pimps bring home about 34 percent more cash per year than the median U.S. household.
America’s pimps are Internet-savvy entrepreneurs now. Street action has dwindled massively in the modern, digital era. Today’s pimps aren’t hustling on many street corners. Instead, they are hustling in cyberspace.
Finn has concluded that some 80 percent of transactions involving pimps now occur online — via mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
“The Internet does provide the ability to do a lot of things without taking the risk of it being exposed,” she told the Detroit NBC affiliate.
Using the Internet to connect prostitutes to paying customers makes pimping easier and — at least as far as pimps are concerned — safer. The likelihood of getting busted is lower because police can’t infiltrate the market as easily.
Pimps post lots of fake photos of their prostitutes online. Many prostitutes are runaway adolescents and missing children. Pimps don’t post photographs of these people online because they don’t want police investigators to see the real people involved. Essentially, pimps are using stock photos of certain types of prostitutes to solicit business.
Pimps use Match.com, Tinder and Grindr to find new prostitutes and new customers. Modern flesh-mongers aren’t afraid to use mainstream dating sites to troll for business, Finn said. They also use websites like Craigslist and Backpage. Pimps frequently won’t blatantly offer sex for sale. Instead, they offer services such as massages and, of course, escort services.
“What technology has permitted is for that sale to occur in an online environment maybe more easily that it can occur in a physical space,” Finn told WDIV-TV.
Pimps swear they have totally become nicer and more principled. “Some were indeed very coercive, violent and very degrading in how they were exploiting another person, and they didn’t care,” the professor told the NBC station. “But there were others who had more of a business-type relationship that I would say was of mutual respect.”
An academic journal, Victims & Offenders, published Finn’s paper earlier this year. The full title is: “How Targeted Enforcement Shapes Marketing Decisions of Pimps: Evidence of Displacement and Innovation.”