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Prostitutes on bleak lives selling sex for cash which goes to 'parasite' pimps

In a new documentary, one prostitute says she loves sex and has "the best job in the world", while another tells how she was forced into selling her body after a pimp piled her with drugs

Nikki is 37 but in her online advertisement she tells clients she's only 26.

She charges $200 (£152) for sex in a room she rents for $20 (£15) an hour.

All the money she makes she gives to "Trouble", her pimp.

She is one of thousands of women who are involved in coerced prostitution whereby they have sex with strangers for money and live by 'rules" set down by men who promise 'protection' in return.

But the line between choice and force isn't always clear as a new documentary by Louis Theroux reveals.

In one scene, Nikki declares her devotions to her pimp while in another she is shown distraught after revealing that she has lost a night's takings and fears the repercussions when "Trouble" finds out.

She later tells Louis he punched her in the face.

Louis visits Nikki a sex worker who has given away $150,000 (Image: BBC)
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Nikki works in Houston, Texas, where prostitution is widespread and sex workers use a website called backpage.com to advertise professional services.

Talking about her career choice she says: "I try to enjoy it, I try to get off but I don't always do it.

"Sometimes I get good looking men who are really successful good guys and they say, 'Do you want to stop what you are doing and come and live with me,' and I'm like, 'No, if I wanted a relationship I'd be normal.'

"I'm not forced to do what I do.

"Pleasure is good, who doesn't like to have sex.

"I used to work in a packaging department. I used to be married, I used to live a square life for 30 years.

Nikki says she tries to enjoy the sex she has with strangers for money (Image: BBC)

"I used to have sex before, but I did it for free. Now I bank up on it.

"A friend of mine was posting on there (backpage.com) and she told me how much so I thought I would give it a go."

At first she worked on her own but soon attracted the attentions of a pimp who now runs her working life.

In one text exchange she reads out, she tells Louis: "I wrote, 'I”m, your little Italian soldier' and he said, 'F***ing right, bitch'

"Stop talking, bitch, and get active"

She said: "I update my pimp on every move I make.

Louis Theroux spoke to several women who had worked in the sex trade for pimps (Image: BBC)
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"I would never go against what he says. He has saved my ass a couple of times, without him I would be really bad off.

"I'm smarter and strong and he makes me better.

"The person you are with is supposed to keep you on point, make sure you are mentally stable, make sure you fed and you have somewhere to stay and you are taken care of by any means necessary - that's my daddy.

"He knows where I am at, what room I'm in, because if I make a mistake it could cost me my life.

"I have a separate apartment which he pays for and I give him all my money, 100%. I've made him a lot of money - more than $150,000 in total.

"I'm really bad with money, I'm not a financial person."

Houston, Texas, has a big prostitution problem (Image: BBC)

Nikki has handed over every cent to her pimp.

She said: "When you are with a pimp you have to ask permission to do anything and if you go against that there are consequences.

"If you violate the rules there are consequences, not minor. If you are out of line, disrespectful, he can be physical.

"But who wants a weak-ass dude protecting you. If I can handle my business and you c an't then why am I with you?

"I like spending time with people, I like meeting new people and I love sex, I love money and I love to travel, so I've got the best job in the world."

Not everyone, though, has such a glowing endorsement of the pimp/prostitute relationship.

Kim, reformed sex worker who works helping women in a refuge tells Louis most pimps run at least two girls, sometimes as many as seven with one of them designated the "wife" whose job it is to keep the others in order.

Louis with sex worker Savannah (Image: BBC)

She said: "I was working out here at 12 for a pimp, it felt good for someone to tell me I was a pretty girl

"Even when I was out with an umbrella in the storm and rain and have to wait to get my quota before I can go and get a hamburger I still couldn't wait to put that money in his hand because I knew I would get praised.

"I see him now as a parasite."

Louis also meets 18-year-old Savannah, who was forced into prostitution after being piled with drugs and having pictures of her posted on backpage.com.

She said: "We were at a park getting high and I remember being out of it and driven to a hotel he explained to me that I would be getting cars and a house and all the clothes I wanted and I would never be sad again or hurt and so a fantasy lifestyle.

"He explained he was posting pictures he had taken of me online and said soon after that I would be getting phone calls.

Savannah has tried to quit the sex industry (Image: BBC)

"I don't remember the first one - but I had five or six that night.

"At the time I had only been with one person and it made me feel like I was degrading myself, which only made me do more drugs.

"I was selling myself, the fast life was exciting, I always had money and clothes and someone who was obsessed with me.

"He would show me more attention than the other girl because I could make money for him."

Eventually she testified against her pimp and he was jailed for 35 years but now she is back selling her body with a new pimp.

She said: "I was reported as a runaway and made contact with one of the officers and he was posing as a trick and he came and got me and picked me up."

In the documentary, Louis visits a prison in Amarillo, Texas, where he speaks to a pimp called "Fancy", who is serving 42 years for coercing a 15-year-old girl into sex work.

Fancy, a pimp serving time in prison, told Louis: "Some women just hoes" (Image: BBC)

Defending himself, he tells Louis: "If I'd had known she was 15 I would have never got involved, she told me she was 17.

"She was drafted after she was spotted on host row, which is a street where women sell their pussies.

"It's a good deal because I am a good provider, a good manager.

"Some women just hoes, they prostitutes and that all they going to be.

"It's like a race driver who gets a rush from driving fast, and these women get a rush from being up in a room and taking $800 from a man.

"Of course, I'm getting all the money - that's the how the game goes. I'm the manager, it's my company.

"She want a family or team, and she chose to come over and be part of Fancy's team."

  • Louis Theroux: Dark States - Trafficking Sex is on BBC Two on Sunday night at 9pm

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