Pimping sometimes sounds like low-tech crime, full of abandoned warehouses, poorly-lit street corners, and nondescript cargo vans. But today, innovative pimps are making use of emerging technology, especially social networking sites. Here are some popular social networking technologies and the ways they help pimps:
1. Craigslist: Craigslist has been called the largest, most profitable prostitution facilitator in America. It allows pimps to sell women and girls quickly, easily, and anonymously. It costs on $25 to put an ad for a girl on Craigslist, and many pimps can make $100 - $300 per hour off the women they sell. Without Craigslist, pimps would be forced to advertise in other venues which are more expensive and have fewer potential buyers trolling for sex.
2. Facebook and MySpace: Pimps love meeting children on Facebook, Myspace, and the like, and then convincing those kids to meet up in real life. Tech-savvy pimps can tell a lot about a girl from her profile, including sometimes where she lives, where she goes to school, and what will make her more easily coerced into prostitution by the pimp. Does she mention how much she loves her little brother? Threaten him. Does she pine for a boyfriend? Be her white knight. Sites with user profiles often make pimps' jobs easier.
3. Twitter: Think pimps don't Tweet? Sure they do. Pimps can use Twitter to meet women and children to exploit or men to sell those women and children to. And when #pimp, #pimpin, and #sheprobablyaho are all trending topics, who would be able to spot an actual pimp recruiting kids?
4. Photo Sharing Technology: It's easier than ever before to get pictures on the Internet and share them with friends and family through sites like Flickr, Picassa, and the others. But while they might make it easier for Grandma to see the pictures from the beach trip, they also make it easier for pimps to create catalogs of the women they control to advertise to buyers. A quick mouse click now leads to massive online portfolios of child pornography and pictures of "escorts" for sale.
5. Meet and Greet Apps: I'm using this term to refer to the myriad of phone apps that tell other people your location. Pimps can use these apps to keep tabs on the women they control, to send a woman to a buyer nearby, and to map out areas of the city where demand for sex is the highest. A phone with one of these apps becomes an instant GPS device for women and girls, helping ensure they don't disobey their pimp.
Remember, technology is just a tool, and it can be used by anyone for any purpose. If it makes your job easier, it probably makes the pimp's job easier too. Can you think of technology you use in your daily life which pimps may find helpful as well?