If you are being pimped in a way that is abusive or controlling or involves trafficking, and want to leave your “man” (pimp family/ trafficker), it can be difficult and dangerous.
You may have to return to work in a place where you will be found, harassed, or recaptured.
Pimps have been known to do all kinds of things to workers when the try to leave, such as:
- Physical beatings.
- Cutting or scarring a worker’s face.
- Cutting a worker’s hair.
- Holding a worker prisoner and bringing clients in for forced service.
- Outing a worker to family and friends.
- Stealing a worker’s clothes and possessions.
- Waiting until a worker has made money and robbing the worker.
- “Stripping”- Capturing a worker and removing all his or her clothes and leaving the worker somewhere public to be humiliated.
You may be tempted to “choose” another pimp or pimp family when you need to leave an abusive situation. Chances are a new pimp will not help your situation and as a former rival you may be treated even worse as retribution. Also, if you “choose” too many times you will become known as “choosy” or a “Choosy Susie”.
Remember, you are a human being with rights. If you try to leave and your pimp or pimp family/ trafficker will not let you go, call the police. Abuse is illegal no matter who you are and forcible confinement is a very serious crime. The police will be able to file criminal charges, restraining orders, and ensure criminal repercussions for anyone who harms you. You may experience some discrimination from police, especially in more remote areas where police services are unfamiliar with issues affecting sex workers safety. Keep your head up and don’t let them brush you off.
Street Code dictates that any involvement of police or outside authorities by an underground community member is “ratting” or being a “rat”.
Our code of honour is a result of criminalization and is important if we are to protect ourselves from enforcement action. However, in the case of abusive pimps or people who traffic in human beings, we hereby state an exception to the “do not rat” rule.
People who operate unethical sex industry businesses and pimps who make a living abusing and exploiting workers harm our entire industry. Any person who has been exploited or abused in this manner may and should involve law enforcement or outside authorities in order to protect themselves and the public image of our industry. Only when we have successfully removed all people who harm us will we be a truly stable industry.
If you are nervous about accessing police services, contact a sex worker support agency or social services worker and ask them to accompany you to file your report. Or ask a family member or friend you trust. See the “Resources” chapter of this guide for organizations near you.
How to leave a pimp safely:
- Call a local (or closest to your city) sex work organization to get referrals regarding shelter, food, and safe spaces.
- Do not tell anyone your plan, as they may rat you out.
- Create a safety plan which outlines your plan for escape. Prepare a place to go, arrange transportation, plan for supports, plan for protection of valuables like family heirlooms – remove them before leaving and place them somewhere safe, plan for new phone number, new ads, new sex work persona, make as many plans as possible to ease your escape. remember, the plan is there for when you need it. You don’t have to use it but can escape if you need to.
- Grab only what is essential, such as children, and act as though you are just going shopping or something that is part of your regular routine. Then go to a sex worker (or other) organization that can help you find a safe transition house if you have not planned for a place to go or do not have anywhere to go. You can make a plan with an organization before you escape also, that way you are sure of where you are going before you go.
- From the transition house, you can phone family or friends. If you want to relocate to another city, the support workers at the safety transition house, or a sex worker organization can help you.
- Try to remove yourself completely from anyone associated with your life during the time you were working for that pimp. If he finds you, there could be danger headed your way.
- Surround yourself with good people while you transition into a new life; even if it is working for another sex industry business owner, or another industry altogether.
Remember that women can be pimps. It’s not just men, as most are stereotyped to be. And indoor sex workers can have abusive pimps too. There are all sorts of awful agencies that are abusive, and having a bad pimp is not limited to the streets.