Commenter Roger wrote:
THOT has the connotation of a woman who appears to be a whore, but is not necessarily a whore. The phrase “over there” suggests that she is being judged on her appearance and public behavior, rather than her bedroom practices.
The practical consequence of this distinction is that calling a woman a whore is potential slander, unless you have some actual knowledge of her sexual practices. But you can call a woman a THOT based on her appearance and outward behavior.
The practical appeal of THOT over ho isn’t legal protection from a slander suit. The benefit is the smirk. If challenged you aren’t calling the woman or women in front of you a ho, you are talking about that ho over there. And if you can say that without a smirk, you don’t understand the humor of the situation.
The same is true for sloot and slooty. A few years back my wife told me about hearing the term (neither of us had heard it before) in a retail clothing store. A 19 year old salesman had used the term slooty to describe a piece of clothing his female manager picked up off the rack. His manager objected; he wasn’t slut shaming, was he? He replied with a smirk that no, he said it was slooty, not slutty. With that his manager’s expression changed from a frown to a smile.