EDISON - A Union County woman who survived the horrors of the sex-trafficking world is out to change the definition of the word "pimp," and her efforts have triggered an overwhelming response.
Danielle Douglas' ordeal started with what she thought was an invite to a party back when she was a "starving student." Instead, her IDs were taken from her and she says she wound up in a world where she was constantly beaten and any profits she made ripped from her hands.
Douglas says her pimp terrorized her. "He was very abusive, and violent, and put the fear of God in me immediately," she says. "That's what pimps do, they control you."
Now, 10 years after escaping her two years of terror, Douglas works to educate people about sex trafficking and the role that pimps play.
"'Pimped out,' 'my car is pimped,' or 'I look like a pimp,' it doesn't really explain what a pimp is," Douglas says. "And you don't understand or realize, you're using that word, and what it really means."
Douglas has started an online petition on Change.org asking dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster to update its definition, which currently lists a pimp as "a man who solicits clients for a prostitute."
"It doesn't incorporate any kind of characteristics of that person's character, it doesn't state what they're forcing upon other people and what they're brainwashing into men, women, and many times, children," Douglas explains.
In just three weeks, her petition has more than 21,000 signatures. Merriam-Webster took note of Douglas' efforts, and the dictionary company told her that it will be changing the definition of the word "pimp" in its next edition.
Douglas hasn't yet gotten details about what the new definition will say, but she says she believes it’s a victory for her and sex-trafficking victims everywhere.