by Royal Hopper
One warm Sin City Summer in 1998 I was working at a Strip casino as a security guard when the Las Vegas police department made a vice sweep through the casino arresting prostitutes and their associates.
One of the “girls” arrested in the round up was 14-years-of age. That is a fact.
As much as the twin hedonisms of gambling and the alcohol consumption , women and sometimes men who sell themselves for money are a Sin City trademark. On most Las Vegas street corners you can see “new stands with pictures of scantily clad women who will “dance” for you in the privacy of your hotel room.
You see them everywhere in the City of Sin. Women and sometimes men selling themselves for money to strangers. It is almost a cliché in this city and incidentally it is against the law here in Clark County.
True story once myself and a security supervisor named Sheldon at a property I was working at in late 1989 were called to the front lobby of the hotel to break up a domestic dispute. When we got there we saw a young man standing there with no shirt on and an older man holding the shirt.
“Give me my wallet back,” said the older man. “Give me my shirt,” back the younger man said. “Give me my wallet back,” the older man repeated. “Pay me what you promised,” the younger man said. ….More …..needless to say Sheldon who was from New York told them to take their spat outside and made sure each got their property back.
As another casino I worked at I once actually heard that a man asked security guards to get his money back because he hadn’t gotten his money’s worth from the working girl he had hired and even a few of the working girls seemed confused about the illegality of their trade actually on at least one occasion I can remember one asking security guards to obtain the money they had been promised.
Once one in the mid 90s security was called to a room at the Treasure Island Hotel and the guest was adamant that the girl he had hired had stolen money from his pants. Apparently he took the working girl to his room and shortly thereafter took his pants off in preparation for his ..half priced message and I think went to the bathroom. The girl suddenly changed her mind and started to leave. The man grew suspicious and detained her until we got there.
In the process of interviewing both of them the young woman said..I don’t have the money you can search me in there …” she said pointing to the bathroom. Now I’m no saint but you know eeeewwwww no …..
“Just give him his money back and we will ….” the memory fades at that point but suffice it to say the man decided not to press charges I’m guessing that since soliciting prostitution is illegal in Vegas calling the cops would have been bad for him.
Funny Stuff huh No Not really
At the time I was a young man with no family and all the sights I had seen and have seen were just good stories to tell.
Now that I have a 17-year-old daughter, who is to the best of my knowledge an innocent, the stories these police officers and parents tell and the ones I see at work hit me on the head like a ten ton boulder. They give me headaches. I can’t _ no one who has a female child could ever listen to these stories with quite the same the humor again.
Every time I hear these stories now I can see my daughter’s blue eyes and crooked smile and I can remember the…”shouts of Grasshopper Hug” as she jumped from our couch into my arms after I got home from work.
I also think about the guy dressed like Snow White talking up a group of businessmen on a holiday excursion….
You can’t miss them if you come this city. The girls I mean.
I have seen two of them arguing over customers and wandering around hotels with a room number scrawled across a piece of paper trying to find their next customer.
I have watched the same woman go up into an elevator with a stranger come back down. I have seen them stumbling out of hotel elevators hair messy and weary make up astray only to go up with a different man or woman after a quick make up fix and then again do the same thing and again and again.
To be sure sometimes it is the men who wind up as victims. They wake up hours later after a free glass of spiked champagne sans wallet and memory but make no mistake about it most of the risks in these transactions is taken by the working girls some of whom are not even old enough to drive in this state.
Of course some are much older and nothing takes more confidence than strutting your stuff on the Boulevard when you can remember seeing Saturday Night Fever in its original 1976 format and own nine pairs of bell bottoms…Okay I made up that last part.
Sometimes the City of Sin is a fun place. But sometimes it has a dark side ..and sometimes it has a very dark side….
Anyway such is life in the City of Sin
Rock on Sinners and remember what you do matters
Human Trafficking Seminar at Basic High School Tells parents be aware ..teens beware
By Royal Hopper
Every parent’s nightmare is a phrase you often hear on the late night news or in a gripping newspaper story and it is always something that is followed by very bad news. It is a nightmare Andrea Swanson a Las Vegas area school nurse and the wife of a cop knows all to well.
“Our daughter’s picture was on Craig’s List. Her picture was on Craig’s list,” Swanson told a largely teenaged crowd attending a Clark County School District seminar at Basic High School on the effect of sex trafficking in the city known for Sin.
Swanson told the crowd how a young man lured her daughter, whose name will not be used in this article, into the life of a prostitute working the infamous Las Vegas strip. Her daughter’s story ended much better than most of the girls lured into this life. Her daughter’s victimizer ended up in prison and is likely still there she said.
Swanson urged parents and teens at the seminar to recognize the signs and to protect their children, sisters and friends from the sea of predators that lurk in the City of Sin and all over the country. Be aware she said.
The predators that lure young women into a life of prostitution are brilliant manipulators who use any youthful disaffection to lure the young women from their families into “the life.”
There are signs the transformation is taking place pay attention she said.
They use code words like “wifey”and lingo that is a dead give away she said. There is rebellion that doesn’t make sense and physical signs of change and abuse.
These predators will go so far as to tattoo a kind of brand on their “girls” one of them even placing a bar code on them to remind the girls who they belong to said experts like Las Vegas Police Lieutenant Karen Hughes who helped organize the task force that is taking on the human trafficking epidemic in Las Vegas.
There is a plague of human trafficking in the country said seminar speaker Stacey Cramer of the Salvation Army and Las Vegas is one of the world wide hubs of the vile practice. According to a web site dedicated to keeping track of the problem. The victims are usually young women brought in for the sex trade but forced labor is another form of human trafficking in this country.
The sex trade is a rough life Hughes explained and most of the girls are abused in some form and many don’t live past their early 20s. Twenty two is the average age for those who do not make it and many who don’t survive the life are much younger she said.
“ The US federal government believes Las Vegas is a top destination for “human trafficking” victims – from indentured servants to massage parlor workers and prostitutes held captive and forced to commit sex acts,” according to the human trafficking web site http://www.humantrafficking.org/
More than 17,000 humans mostly women and girls were trafficked to the US according to the site .
In my blogs I often relate funny stories about working girls named after woodland creatures, food items and mythological characters as a backdrop for the weeks events because they are part of the City. Make no mistake about it however if this ever happened to my angel I would have to write these missives from jail cell for a long time….