Common Terms

Common Terms Used in CSEC

Common Terms Used in CSEC

12 — A way of notifying others that police or law enforcement is in the area; expressed by shouting to give warning.

Automatic — A term denoting the victim’s “automatic” routine when her pimp is out of town, in jail, or otherwise not in direct contact with those he is prostituting. Victims are expected to comply with the rules and often do so out of fear of punishment or because they have been psychologically manipulated into a sense of loyalty or love. All money generated on “automatic” is turned over to the pimp.

Beef — Arguments that have the potential to escalate to physical altercations or other forms of abuse.

Bottom — One girl appointed by the trafficker/pimp to supervise the others and report rule violations. Operating as his “right hand,” the Bottom may help instruct victims, collect money, book hotel rooms, post ads, or inflict punishments on other girls.

Branding — A tattoo or carving on a victim that indicates ownership by a trafficker/pimp/gang.

Brothel — A form of indoor prostitution where a group of women are engaged in prostitution in the same location.

Buyer (aka “john”) — An individual who pays for or trades something of value for sexual acts.

Caught A Case — A term that refers to when a pimp or victim has been arrested and charged with a crime.

Catch A Fade — An invitation to fight.

Choosing Up — The process by which a different pimp takes “ownership” of a victim. Victims are instructed to keep their eyes on the ground at all times. According to traditional pimping rules, when a victim makes eye contact with another pimp (accidentally or on purpose), she is choosing him to be her pimp. If the original pimp wants the victim back, he must pay a fee to the new pimp. When this occurs, he will force the victim to work harder to replace the money lost in transaction. (See Reckless Eyeballing)

Circuit — A series of cities among which prostituted people are moved. One example would be the West Coast circuit of San Diego, Las Vegas, Portland, and the cities between. The term can also refer to a chain of states such as the “Minnesota pipeline” by which victims are moved through a series of locations from Minnesota to markets in New York.

Curb Crawling — Driving slowly down the street with the intent to pick up a prostituted individual. Also spelled “Kerb Crawling.”

Daddy — The term a pimp will often require his victim to call him.

Date — The exchange when prostitution takes place, or the activity of prostitution. A victim is said to be “with a date” or “dating.”

Drug House — A form of indoor prostitution where sex is exchanged for drugs.

Escort Service — An organization, operating chiefly via cell phone and the internet, which sends a victim to a buyer’s location (an “outcall”) or arranges for the buyer to come to a house or apartment (an “in-call”); this may be the workplace of a single woman or a small brothel. Some escort services are networked with others and can assemble large numbers of women for parties and conventions.

Exit Fee — The money a pimp will demand from a victim who is thinking about trying to leave. It will be an exorbitant sum, to discourage her from leaving. Most pimps never let their victims leave freely.

Facilitator — Any business or person allowing or assisting a trafficker to carry out his/her business.

Family/Folks — The term used to describe the other individuals under the control of the same pimp. He plays the role of father (or “Daddy”) while the group fulfills the need for a “family.”

Finesse Pimp/Romeo Pimp — One who prides himself on controlling others primarily through psychological manipulation. Although he may shower his victims with affection and gifts (especially during the recruitment phase), the threat of violence is always present.

Fleek — Looks good; admirable.

Flexing — Lying.

Gorilla (or Guerilla) Pimp — A pimp who controls his victims almost entirely through physical violence and force.

Hurt — Unattractive.

Lit — Intensely excited; intoxicated.

Lot Lizard — Derogatory term for a person who is being prostituted at truck stops.

Madam — An older woman who manages a brothel, escort service or other prostitution establishment. She may work alone or in collaboration with other traffickers.

Netflix and Chill — An invitation to go over to someone’s house and engage in sex; to invite someone over to watch a sexually enticing movie on Netflix in hopes of engaging in a sexual act.

Out of Pocket — A term used to describe when a woman or girl breaks “the rules” by making eye contact with another pimp.

P.I. — Street term used to reference a pimp other than one’s own.

Pimp Circle — When several pimps circle a victim to intimidate through verbal and physical threats in order to discipline the victim or force her to choose up.

Quota — A set amount of money that a trafficking victim must make each night before she can come “home.” Quotas are often set between $300 and $2000. If the victim returns without meeting the quota, she is typically beaten and sent back out on the street to earn the rest. Quotas vary according to geographic region, local events, etc.

Reckless Eyeballing — A term that refers to the act of looking around instead of keeping your eyes on the ground. Eyeballing is against the rules and could lead an untrained victim to “choose up” by mistake.

Renegade — A person involved in prostitution without a pimp.

Salty — Upset; angry; bitter towards someone.

Seasoning — A combination of psychological manipulation, intimidation, gang rape, sodomy, beatings, deprivation of food or sleep, isolation from friends or family and other sources of support, and threatening or holding hostage of a victim’s children. Seasoning is designed to break down a victim’s resistance and ensure compliance.

Slay — Draw attention in a positive way.

Squaring Up — Attempting to escape or exit prostitution.

Stable — A group of victims who are under the control of a single pimp.

Survival Sex — A term referring to the exploitation of a minor by another person who requires sex acts in exchange for basic needs such as shelter, food, or clothes.

The Game/The Life — The subculture of prostitution, complete with rules, a hierarchy of authority, and language. Referring to the act of pimping as ‘the game’ gives the illusion that it can be a fun and easy way to make money, when the reality is much harsher. Women and girls will say they’ve been “in the life” if they’ve been involved in prostitution for a while.

Track — An area of town known for prostitution activity. This can be the area around a group of strip clubs and pornography stores, or a particular stretch of street.

Trade Up/Trade Down — To move a victim like merchandise between pimps. A pimp may trade one girl for another or trade with some exchange of money.

Trafficker/Pimp — Person who buys, trades, and/or sells individuals for sexual exploitation.

Trap House — A form of indoor prostitution where sex is exchanged for drugs.

Trick — Committing an act of prostitution (verb), or the person buying it (noun). A victim is said to be “turning a trick” or “with a trick.”

Turn Out — To be forced into prostitution (verb) or a person newly involved in prostitution (noun).

Wifeys/Wife-in-Law/Sister Wife — What women and girls under the control of the same pimp call each other. (See Family/Folks and Stable.)