We encourage lively debate on the issues of the day, but we ask that you refrain from using profanity or other offensive speech, engaging in personal attacks or name-calling, posting advertising, or wandering away from the topic at hand. I don't have to go in there and be no big macho guy. If somebody know you've got somebody with you, the chances of you getting hurt are minimum to none. The Texas Tribune is pleased to provide the opportunity for you to share your observations about this story. If you selling sex, that's something that you don't gotta re-up on. If you sell drugs, you gotta pay for the drugs at a wholesale and then go back and stack yo' money. I might fight them sometimes, like slap them or something, but I didn't beat them where I just beat them for no reason or something. To comment, you must be a registered user of the Tribune, and your real name will be displayed. They got they hair done and all of that stuff, buy them wigs and stuff like that, dance clothes, stuff they need to make their money. A.: You got some, they call them gorilla pimps, who if she stops after she's already begun, they feel like, well she said she game. Truck drivers, they lonely, they got money, they be driving around places, they ain't got no wife with them. They work on a construction site or something like that. So I was like, "Y'all gonna go over there, have sex with them, and if they drop they pants, get the whole wallet, you know what I'm saying." Harris: Most of them be businessmen with wives, you know, families. You can do everything right, be smart, watch A through Z, but it's always, somewhere down the line, something you gonna miss, somewhere you gonna slip. Harris: When you first start, you're making, getting, $100 a half-hour, or $150 a whole hour, or $200. No." But $500 and up, I'd be like, "Yeah." Or $300, yeah, that's the lowest I'd go. I would say chill out on that pimping stuff because it ain't what's up no more. If I hustle this long, I can put this money into going to college, or I can put this money to a trade, or I can get me a house. A.: We all playing a losing game, you know, and sooner or later everything is going to come out.
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When it comes to punishing the sex traffickers who exploit Texas kids, state leaders are unforgiving: Their crimes are "vile," "heinous," "despicable," "unconscionable." Texas Tribune reporters talked to three convicted traffickers to try to understand the power they wield over victims and the attraction of what they call "the lifestyle." They explained how vulnerable kids end up in the sex trade and how the business works. The girls see me so much in the room that they start to friend me. Don't let nobody hurt them while they do what they do. Anthony Harris, 30, who is serving five years for compelling prostitution of a minor at a state prison in Huntsville, Texas, said working as a pimp doesn’t feel like a business — ”it feels like family.” Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune How did you recruit girls to sell sex? A.: If you meet a female, she don't got no family, she don't got nowhere to stay, but you got a little bit of money, you doing for her, you putting a roof over her head, feeding her ... Johnson: If it's a new girl trying to get on my team, I have sex with them first because I know I can get in they head. And then after that, they just start giving me whatever I need. There's a lot of prostitutes who ended up dead doing what they were doing. I stopped a lot of people from getting raped, hurt, beat up, just by my presence alone. Ryan Murphy was the lead developer on this story; Emily Albracht was the lead designer. They rough her up a little bit, so she's going to get back on the program. You got a lot of males, they gonna rape someone, they ain't gonna pay. Harris: The girl would text me and say, "His time is up, but he don't want to stop." I'd knock on the door. One of the reporters on this story, Neena Satija, also works for Reveal, a public radio show and podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. said pimping is “like free money.” Martin do Nascimento for The Texas Tribune What would you say to other people who are still in the "lifestyle?