According to a very detailed report by the Ottawa Citizen and a thoroughly researched feature forOttawa Magazine, three teen girls in Ottawa have been accused with running a prostitution ring in which they allegedly blackmailed other young girls and forced them into prostitution. The motive behind all of this is unclear. The Ottawa Magazine piece cites a pimping expert who says the girls were possibly “influenced by a variety of mass-media sources”—like rap—and a particularly prostitution-filled episode of 90210. That seems bizarre in and of itself, but it’s a somewhat understandable hypothesis. The basic mechanics of pimping culture are easy to learn about.
The common perception is that pimping has always been relegated to a certain sliver of society. At least, that’s how I’ve understood it—because that’s the image we’re used to. So it is, of course, wildly shocking to hear about teen girls pimping out other teen girls, especially in Ottawa. But according to the United Nations, female pimps are the majority in certain countries, and prostitutes often speak of being courted by teen girls at a young age to enter the sex trade.
It also appears, from tweets gathered by the Ottawa Citizen, that these girls were unabashedly styled by gangsta-pimping culture. Tweets like “Ain’t no problem like a hoe problem” speak to the chilling level of distance the accused put up against their victims who they were absolutely terrible toward.
These teen pimps are accused of drugging girls, stripping them down, and taking photos of them naked to blackmail them later. They supposedly lured girls through Facebook with vague invitations to hang out or make money, and when the girls arrived at the agreed upon locations, there would be johns waiting. Some johns allegedly sent home girls in cabs when they clearly realized the girls were there against their wills. Other johns, like one particular cab driver, reportedly accepted a blowjob and paid one of these teen prostitutes $80—which her teen pimps allegedly took back from her entirely. Another, who allegedly has a “bikini fetish,” dressed one of these captive-teen prostitutes up in a “pink bathing suit and raped her.” Girls were sent home to their parents naked under trench coats. And, according to the Ottawa Magazine piece, the identities of these teen pimps are an “open secret” held by “hundreds of teens around the city.”
The girls have pleaded not guilty, so it will be interesting to see where this trial is going to lead. At the very least—if there is a positive to take from such a horrifically fucked up and devastating case like this—it should open peoples’ eyes to the complexity of sexual extortion. Pimping is clearly not just limited to thuggish men who troll up and down alleys hunting wayward girls to bring into their flock. Sexual extortion evidently can appeal to men and women, of all ages, and moving towards a greater awareness of that may be the only good takeaway for now.