Fresh has it made. A self-described "young black entrepreneur," he says he has a team of workers who make $1,000 a day — and hand every dime over to him.
There's another word Fresh uses to describe his work: He is a pimp. He calls the young women who work for him his "family," and says he provides security and guidance in return for their hard-earned money.
"They sacrificed their minds, their hearts, their bodies for the nonsense that they go through every day for me," Fresh told Downtown's Don Dahler. "Therefore I give it my all, 110 percent. I give them protection, knowledge, guidance, wisdom, instructions, knowledge, understanding."
Downtown went to Atlanta last summer to report on what a juvenile court judge had called an "epidemic" of underage prostitution in the city. Federal prosecutors charged 15 people, accusing them of involvement in the coercion of young girls into prostitution. Thirteen of the defendants pleaded guilty to various charges, each receiving a sentence of at least five years in jail without parole. The remaining two defendants, Charles "Sir Charles" Pipkins and Andrew "Batman" Moore, went on trial Tuesday in federal court.
Fresh was not named in the federal case, and there is no indication that any of the women who work for him are under the age of 18. But Downtown decided to follow him for a weekend to get a glimpse into the seldom-seen world of modern-day pimping.
'A Pimp and Ho Town'
Fresh's real name is Kenneth Vaughn. He is 33 years old, and admits to doing at least six years in prison for drug dealing. He lives in Nashville, Tenn., but comes to Atlanta with his "girls" on working visits. "Man, I love Atlanta. You get plenty of respect," he told Downtown. "This is a pimp and ho town."
On the weekend Downtown followed him, Fresh had three women with him: two of his regulars, Blondie and Shyla, and a new worker, Rachel, whom he had picked up at a bus station in Nashville.
With a high turnover rate in the sex trade, recruiting is important, and pimps are always on the lookout for likely candidates. Bus stations are a favorite place.
Rachel, a blonde who says she is 19 but has a younger appearance that is highly valued in the sex business, sensed that Fresh was a pimp as soon as she met him. "He sounded like he was experienced when he opened his mouth," she said.
Rachel was already a veteran of the sex trade. She told Downtown she became a prostitute in New York City at the age of 10 — under the guidance of her mother. "She had a pimp and I had a separate pimp from hers. ... When I did try it, I was young, I was scared, I didn't know what to do, and my mom showed me through all that. So I learned very quickly."
Fresh so impressed Rachel that she decided to "choose up" from her current pimp and go to Atlanta with Fresh. In accordance with pimp custom, Fresh called the other pimp to "serve" him notice that he wanted to take one of women.
The pimp consented, so next it was up to Rachel to "buy in" with Fresh, or give him enough money to show she could be a good earner. So Rachel gave Fresh all the cash she had on her and cashed in her bus ticket. "I plan on staying with him for a while," she told Downtown.
Working the Hotel