How is pimping a form of sex trafficking?

If certain behaviors and elements of control are present, yes, it can be.  In the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a severe form of sex trafficking is a crime in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age. Pimps, who are motivated by the opportunity to make money, sell women, men, boys, and girls in the commercial sex industry by using numerous methods to gain control over their bodies and minds.  Many of these behaviors directly meet the definitions of force, fraud, or coercion that are the central elements of the crime of human trafficking.  It is often difficult to identify a pimp who is not using some form of deceit, lies, manipulation, threats, or violence towards the victims they are attempting to control.  An elaborated list of these controlling behaviors of pimps is provided below:


  • Beating and slapping
  • Beating with objects (bat, tools, chains, belts, hangers, canes, cords)
  • Burning
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape and gang rape
  • Confinement and physical restraint


  • False promises
  • Deceitful enticing and affectionate behavior
  • Lying about working conditions
  • Lying about the promise of a better life, “selling a dream”


  • Threats of serious harm or restraint
  • Intimidation and humiliation
  • Creating a climate of fear
  • Enforcement of trivial demands
  • Occasional Indulgences
  • Intense manipulation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Creating dependency and fear of independence