It Actually Is Hard Out There For a Pimp

If you believe the increasingly popular images of pimps, you'd expect them to be self-made and stylish dudes.

In fact , a new study suggests that family trauma often plays a part in giving these men skills and inclination to control other human beings, The Sun-Times reports.

It's a far cry from the Oscar-nominated and ultra-cool pimp film Hustle and Flow, but "that's the persona they put on,'' study author Jody Raphael said. "Underneath, they are no different than the women. ... They come from the same households and dysfunction as the women do."

The report found that some Chicago pimps -- like the women whose bodies they sell -- are frequently victims of sexual abuse and frequently have sold their own bodies for sex.

The research in question surveyed only five men -- one white, one hispanic and three black -- who were all paid for their part in the study. None is currently pimping, but they had all been active within the last five years and had spent an average of 24 years involved in the trade.

All grew up in homes plagued by domestic abuse and addiction, and four of the five and had been sexually abused as children. One of them reported selling his body for sex when he was 12.

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