2011-01-06 / Sandy Days, Salty Nights

Pimping ain’t easy

If prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, then pimping is the oldest managerial position. As long as escorts have turned tricks, men and women have taken a cut for the protection and organization they provide. Now, in this ever-expanding global economy, pimping has gone international.

As part of an investigation on human trafficking, Youthradio.org obtained a pimp’s business plan from a local prosecutor. The document — and I use the term loosely — consists of a set of hand-written business goals.

“Stay in high pursuit looking for a prostitute,” the author strategizes. “Take my game to the next level (from the concrete streets to the executive suites).” He wraps up with plans for a global venture: “Set-up a international operation (have five hoes on every continent).”

What shocks me most about the pimp business plan — other than the terrible grammar — is its boldly hustling nature. Not everyone has the money-making mentality it takes for the thievery and self-promotion pimping requires. Whenever I meet this kind of person, I’m always dismayed — and awed.

So it was on a recent trip out of the country with my mother. On our first day, still weary from the flight, we set out for a tour of the city with an American-gone-native as our guide, a woman who had lived abroad for 13 years and taken to the local culture like a hippo to a riverbed. She had assumed the hustling ways of the people who surrounded her, and she gave no breaks to the American tourists who crossed her path. In fact, she gave them a special mark-up, knowing their dollars could handle her steep prices, even with the dismal exchange rate.

Toward the end of our city tour, after we had snapped photos at the lighthouse and bought beaded necklaces in the market, our guide gave us the hard sell.

“I actually offer a lot of services,” she said. She ticked off her local products inventory, the clothes she designs and the tours she runs to neighboring destinations. “I also can provide escorts,” she added.

I had been lounging in the back seat of the car, my eyes gritty from the sand blowing in on the hot wind, my deodorant long since having checked out, but I suddenly sat up. Escorts?

“A lot of women come here traveling alone” — she cut her eyes at me — “and they’re afraid to go out at night. I can provide men that will take you out to dinner or to the clubs.”

I noticed that my mother, too, had straightened in her seat.

“I’ve got a couple of them,” the guide continued. “One is in his second year of law school. Really smart. A good conversationalist.

The other” — here she looked at my mom — “is a surfer. You know, young and buff.”

There it was. Our tour guide had become a madam, and my mother and I were the Johns (Jeans?). The car dropped us off at our place, and we tittered as we unlocked the door.

“Escorts?” we asked each other. Who did she think she was?

The answer, of course: a pimp. It ain’t easy, says Ice-T, but it sure pays the bills. ¦

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