Frundt later left home in Chicago at age 14 and soon met a “wonderful guy” in his twenties. They teamed up, living mainly in motels. They talked of living the good life together, of buying a home and getting rich. Then one day, Frundt says, the man told her “if I loved him, I would help make money for us.”
They drove to Cleveland. That night some friends of his came to their motel room. He told Frundt to have sex with a man. She refused. They raped her. Like most women beginning in prostitution–many when they are barely more than children–she blamed herself.
Afterward, she recalls, “he said that wouldn’t have happened if I would have just listened to him at first. So I took it as my fault. Instead of being angry at him for being raped, I was angry at myself for not listening to him in the first place. Right after is when he picked my clothes out, told me what to wear, and forced me to go out on the streets.” Soon she learned that he was pimping several other women.
Frundt says her story is the norm for most prostitutes, whether they work on the streets or through escort services
On the streets Frundt had to make $500 before she could come in for the night. When she brought in only $50, “he beat me up in front of the other girls and made me go outside until I had made the money,” she says. “This is the same man who took me out to eat, listened to me when I complained about my worldsingledating how to delete account parents, and gave me advice, but increasingly I was seeing a side of him I had never seen before. A brutal side. . . . I was scared.”
One day Frundt worked from 6 AM to 10 PM without eating or sleeping. She made her $500 quota, but the pimp, still angry, put her back on the streets until 5 the next morning. When Frundt was finished, he bought her some food but locked her in a closet to sleep.
“Pimps are sadistic,” Frundt says. “They train you. I’ve had my arm broken with a bat. After the abuse, the pimp would tell me to sit on his lap and would ask me what was wrong. When I said, ‘You broke my arm,’ he hit me and asked me again what was wrong. I had to say, ‘I fell down.’ “
A pimp usually takes the woman to a new city where she doesn’t know anyone. Most of the women Frundt’s organization helps are from elsewhere, she says. “They’re like, ‘This is DC!’ and they’re so happy to see the Capitol. Then, when they want to leave, where do they go? Would you go to the police who keep arresting you? No, you wouldn’t.”
Some services, usually advertised in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet, are run by madams; escorts get a percentage of the money they bring in
“A lot of escort services are pimp-controlled,” says the Polaris Project’s Derek Ellerman, “and are fronts for prostitution. No one believes they’re just for dates. There may be some very, very high-end services where there isn’t full intercourse, but in general it’s prostitution where they come to your hotel room or home. They don’t escort you anywhere.”
High-end escort services are sophisticated operations in which women’s services can cost thousands of dollars–and the women have some freedom to choose whether to have sex with the customer.
Many ads on the Internet are placed by “renegades,” prostitutes who operate without any management and keep their earnings. Some pimp-controlled prostitutes who work the streets also work through agencies with ads on the Internet or in newspapers.