Cautionary Words from a Nevada brothel survivor::but still a sex worker activist

Sitting in a motel head spinning from what just happened. I had just been kicked out of B’s brothel. While I was in my room with a customer, someone had opened my laptop and poured tabasco sauce all over the keyboard and trackball pad. Mostly the latter, which was good because only the spacebar is the most damaged. I ask the people in the kitchen if they had seen anything. They all acted dumbfounded. I go to the living room. Lisa gets up and starts to get angry for me. “who the fuck spilled tabasco on Passion’s computer?? That’s some SHADY ASS shit right there, you BITCHES.” She is moving through the house asking everyone for me.

The computer was open to the post page I was writing, entitled “DAY 7: military and 6th grade classroom detention.

I was cleaning my laptop and girls took turns getting things like paper towels and q tips and I asked ALL of them if they did this as they interacted with me. All were empathetic and helpful. I sat in my room shaking. I did not know what to feel. I was angry but just in shock. I called Scarlot Harlot, my whore mother in crisis moments and beyond. “So, you’re going to leave, right?” she said. I sighed and accepted this as the last straw. “Yes. I said. “I’m leaving tomorrow.” Start to make plans to exit. Call Sharon in Vegas and arrange for a place to stop on route back home to LA. While I am talking on the phone in my room, bar manager comes in seeming concerned. “what time do you think this happened. When was your computer in the kitchen?” she said. I put the person on hold. “between when I was in my date and 10pm. “I said emotional but not in any tears. I am making frantic arrangements to kick my [trouble making] subletters out early so I could return home.

15 minutes later the bar manager opens the door. “S was just here. She wound back the tape [of the camera in the kitchen] and you were the only one near your computer. No one was in kitchen but you during those times. So I get to ask you to leave. I get to watch you pack and make sure you return the remotes. I get to check you out and give you your money WITHOUT taking the 25% for being asked to leave.”

“Wait a second.” I am even more in shock. “You think I did this to my own computer?” I said.

“I’m not saying what I believe or don’t believe. I am just doing my job.” A TRUE HENCHMEN SPEAKS.

“wow. This whole house is fucking crazy. That’s fine. I was going to leave tomorrow anyway.” I say and start to head to the closet to slowly process what is happening and start to pack. My heart is pounding out of my chest in the way that it does when I am about to get into a fist fight, when I got robbed, when I got arrested by 3 male cops busting through a door…The adrenalyn was making my head spin and my body tremble.

I am now in a motel, unwinding by writing all of you “conscious sex workers” out there who were seduced by the charm of the seductive sales pitch of a manager disguised in feminist clothing, to SLAP YOURSELVES ACROSS THE FACE, because you don’t even have to be similar to Amanda or me to see that labor violations and militant management are not a good addition to intentions to adventure and prosper in sex work settings.

S asked me if I had ever had a pimp in her office, and I was thinking in my head,”Yeah, lots of mostly stripclub managers, but never someone like you who truly believes that they are the total opposite, but are exactly the same evil in a different outfit.” She then showed me photos of the other woman’s face all beat up to scare me out of being an “independent.”

“You wanna take customers to your house and see them on your own??” she said,” You wanna know what happened when B did that a customer damn near TOOK HER LIFE??” waving the photos at me.

The women here are sleep deprived and working around the clock for about $2000-$10,0000 a week for 130 hours of work (emotional, body movement control for 13 hours a day x 10) in 10 days. Most make about $2-3000, which means about $2-300/day. Can you make that much or more as an independent or even agency escort? Many can. In fact, many street workers can make more than that, but there are that come with it the increased risk of arrest and [different kinds of] violence. The legal brothels waive their legal status as their carrot so that you feel like you NEED them to make that money.

Now I know how WAGE BONDAGE (keeping wages until the week’s end to make sure you follow rules), light deprivation mixed together with FEAR conditioning and bodily control by restricting freedom of movement and REQUIRING movement at the sound of a loud FIRE ALARM like BELL every 20-40 minutes does to you. I too was still thinking of staying a few more days,making just a few more hundred in exchange for my freedom. But the tabasco incident happened, which was all the better but still really really dirty and stupid. Amanda’s window to her room opened onto a padlocked and gated “patio.” I read this and still I went. (Maybe we are two very different people with different boundaries..I’ve never worked with Amanda…in fact I don’t even know her that well!) I cleansed my mind to open, even after reading her blog, but still the same, if not worse of the nightmare ensued for me. This and even worse is going on in legal brothels all over Nevada, Australia and more.

I’ve had my period for several days while working there. Today I bled a little puddle on a customer and he wanted a damn refund. The Instead cups sometimes get tilted to spill when a penis is thrusting it. Oh well, he sees blood. He had already fucked me though! I usually tell fools like that to eat my bloody pussy or “Hey,surprise, female prostitutes bleed sometimes. Sorry to break the fantasy for you.” There ARE NO REFUNDS in prostitution! But management gave him a damn refund. This is where the ambiguity of charging for the hour not the sex act comes in handy. In that hour, you can give head or a hand job if you are bleeding and they don’t get recourse because you never promised any certain kind of sex. Well, that’s how I roll anyway. I don’t love all my clients, especially when it means I would have to compromise control over my boundaries during periods or not. In most sex work establishments with fucked up management, expect the customer to always be right. However, in the stripclub that I worked the longest at, working girl was always right. Bouncers would usually take out issues on drunken customers who exceeded a girl’s boundaries, this might seem like a good thing, but, bouncers can easily take this one out of control as well. But this practice, in general, meant that clients were always TRICKS at the end of any argument, and your pussy power was kept intact, in control and in the highest regard. This is not the set up for this brothel,and I get the feeling that most are built on a reputation of customer is always right, which doesn’t always stand in line with sex workers rights.

Another part of S’s lecture was about how “you will give that customer an $80 party and give him the best party of his life,(meaning you get $40 for fucking) and not complain about it because he might come back when he has more money and give you a $2000 party.” speaking of the girls who complained about a customer only having $80 in his wallet.

Aunt D called us all in to the kitchen and swore up and down that Bellas would never take your money for that kind of thing..we all bleed. She said she gave HALF of his money back because he would spread word to all his trucker friends, so she took money out of her own pocket to keep his mouth shut. But we will never take money from you girls for that..” When I was checked out they charged me $150 for bleeding on a customer. That was my 50%. They issued a refund from my half!! I didn’t argue as I left the office with my measily $600 for 7 days of what I deemed as emotional hell. (this was not even my expenses for getting licensed to be a card carring ho, gas money to get here or gas money to get back. My rent is due again on September 1st and my lawyer needs to get paid by the 5th. BUT, I am free. A sex worker activist brothel survivor. Getting abused by pimps or systems of abusive pimping does cause trauma in the same way that any other domestic violence or workplace violence would, especially if you have previous stuff to deal with. Melissa Farley has bits of truth in her very one sided view, except that it isn’t the sex work itself that was traumatizing, but the way that it was mandated to be done. Bella obviously does NOT understand the concept of sex worker rights. They tried to destroy my laptop, but I it didn’t stop me from writing THIS BLOG to the rest of cyberspace. She doesn’t know that I have successfully filed LABOR CLAIMS and WON against EVERY strip club that I have worked in. So this brothel shit is LEGAL. Great. That means I can get my money back for the sex work I did, and charge you for damaging my laptop and hold you accountable for the rest of your BULLSHIT. Management is ex cop and ex military. She used to dress up like a ho to ARREST guys and now she is literally wielding her power trip on the other side of the tracks in a little family owned brothel in nowhere, Nevada.

I am on my way home. I am not worried about money. It will find its way back to me. I have my freedom. I would take working illegally and getting arrested ANYDAY to being enslaved by bonded wages, (they keep your money til the end of each week, so they can DEDUCT heavy fines out of it as a threat) lockdown house which is like JAIL anyway just more time. I know that this brothel is not unique in the system of legalization and now I know that I am not cut out to work at another one, which I’m sure owners and brothel hobbyists will be more than happy that I plan to not try again. Amanda said that she will try another one, which is great, like I knew before, we are different workers and you, reader are also another person who may feel and experience differently. However, I hope that you can take a stand against abusive, extorting stripclub managers, escort agencies, brothel owners and recognize the difference between abusive pimp and sex work manager. Stand against debt or wage bondage and psychologically abusive work environments. Sex work does NOT ever have to be like this.

Alright drivers, 10-4 good buddy, I’m headin home. Back to LA. OVER AND OUT….

57 Responses

  1. holy shit.

    woah.

    i am pretty much speechless. im glad you are out of there.

  2. wow, glad you are out Mariko.

  3. Glad you made it out okay… sad to hear you and Amanda both went to what sounds like the worst brothel in Nevada. I know girls who work here and have gone out to brothels like Mustang Ranch or Sheri’s and done well and liked it. None of this threatening attitudes and behaviors. Wish the best to you..

  4. Mariko wrote:
    “Getting abused by pimps or systems of pimping does cause trauma. Melissa Farley does actually have some truth in her one sided view.’
    …but Melissa Farley says that prostitution is inherently traumatic regardless of the working conditions, so she acts like the working conditions are irrelevant. It seems like what you’re saying is different. It seems like you’re saying that the working conditions were traumatic rather than sex for payment in and of itself. Farley ignores how persecution, stigmatization, and repressive working conditions can be traumatic when writing about trauma in prostitution.
    Anyway, I’m sorry to learn that you had such a horrible experience at Bella’s and if I ever go back to work in a legal Nevada brothel again (which I have no intent to at this point), I’ll be sure to stay away from Bella’s after reading what you and Amanda wrote.

  5. Sorry for the lack of intelligent response:

    holeee shit!

  6. Glad you got out.

  7. goddamn, girl,
    YOU’RE FREE! here’s a hell yeah taking care of you, for getting the hell out of that terrible place and not internalizing any of their absurd attempts at indoctrination and fear.
    i’ve known a few other people that have had pretty miserable times working out in nevada, empowered whores all. it’s so infuriating that legal/quasi-legal sex work runs so rampant with labor violations, because the stigma associated with the work prevents so many from demanding and accessing their rights. how many strippers, dommes, and prostitutes have been told that they are “independent contractors” when in fact they are bonafide employees? how many get treated like slaves because systematic marginalization and isolation create a window of opportunity for abuse (and, research like farley’s fuels such a system, let’s be real.)
    at any rate, your writing about this experience, and your demonstrating that they can’t keep a smart sex worker down, is both so brave and so important. mad pride and love under a big red umbrella travelling cross country to you, from me and all the other folks in nyc who have yr back.

  8. Im so sorry to hear about your incident. You are a voice of experience that us working girls need. Thanks for the heads up!

  9. Mariko, I’m SO GLAD you are outta there!
    Goddamn!
    I am SO sorry you went through *another* horrific sex work related experience. I wish very much for you to have some good healing and regrouping and support time after all of this.

    Does anyone feel like composing a letter to Bella about all this? The angry queer in me wants to boycott!

    (half-joking)

  10. The only letter that Bella needs is a letter demanding that Amanda get her wages owed that she didn’t collect because both managers were out of town. They have since returned since I was there. Bella and all other brothel owners need to get hit with a labor violation suit. That is where I am going to take my fire…looking into what rights and recourse brothel workers actually have, what precedents have been set, etc.

  11. Brothel owners are not PIMPS they are madams or brothel owners. Pimps are men who have a personal and business relationship with a prostitute. That is his woman and he is her man. It is a Man/Woman relationship not a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. It is by choice NOT by force. Service owners and brothel owners are just that nothing more nothing less and beware of the ones who love to say “Don’t go with a Pimp” and use Pimps as scapegoats. But they are good Pimps and Madams as well as good service owners and brothel owners. The good ones run into some real bad prostitutes who put them through horror stories. Pimps, Madams, brothel owners and service owners run into women who will act like they are cool and set them up for LE for money or if they catch a case. I mean the haters are out there. The fact they showed you a picture of a beat up girl shows you they play real dirty over it that place. Ex-cop, ex-military? But you see they play on your dislikes. They claim we hate Pimps and “us” feminist women need to stick together and all that B.S. and they play on your fear and greed. Then they fuck you over big time. A feminist prostitute is a oxymoron there is no such thing. Feminism is against sex workers. The right title is sex workers who want to be treated fair period.Then they fuck you over big time. In Nevada you have no win even filing a lawsuit. Were any of those strip clubs you sued in Vegas or Nevada? The politicians, police, courts, judges, casinos and the brothels are very cozy with one another and they are downright dangerous. This is nothing what you went through I know pimps and hustlers (guys cheating the casino) who have been beat an inch from death, locked up on trumped up charges, robbed and prostitutes have been raped by the police and then ran out of town. It is better now but 10 or 20 years ago it was crazy. I have been to Cheetahs and other strip clubs in Vegas and they are cool even if they know you are a Pimp as long as you are a gentleman but if you act like a asshole and that goes for any guy square or pimp the bouncers will beat your ass to a bloody pulp and the police always takes the bouncers side. So be careful when in Nevada and be nice and lady like especially if you are confronted by the police or anyone with power out in Nevada. They can plant drugs on you too so don’t make any enemies with these people and go out there again.

    pi4ever2007@yahoo.com

  12. Real Pimpin,

    Since you haven’t worked at Bella’s you have no idea. Bella is a pimp. There is a cult of personality going on. It’s pimping. Perhaps not as you recognize it, but it is there.

    XX

  13. Mariko/Amanda, if you would like to discuss this on XXBN email me off board.

  14. The state of Nevada needs to take responsibility for creating this abusive culture in that their legalization laws favors and empowers the owners and not the workers.
    Really the owners are actually the third party boss to the state.

  15. how many workers work within the legal brothel system and how many work outside of it?

  16. Real Pimpin,

    I KNOW that there are good pimps, nice boyfriends, good “men” etc. Some working girls are in these polyamorous families (have kids with) with men that have other girls working. The groups income raises all the kids and it works out. They are happy in it and there is no signs of domestic abuse.

    I KNOW throwing blame of pimps being bad sounds and saying I am a ‘survivor’ of any sex work situation sounds exactly like I am anti-prostitution and changing teams or something but I’m not.

    But BAD PIMPS, extortion, abuse of any and all kinds on a repeated basis used to make your working girls more profitable for you, I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM WITH. Taking people who are already damaged from previous situations and damaging them more so they are dependent on you, I have a BIG problem with. This is called DOMESTIC VIOLENCE or RITUAL ABUSE. And when a pimp decides that that is PART what makes his pimpin game BIG then, yeah, I become against him, HER, or any state system that sits by and says that THEY are the model of SAFE SEX WORK.

    Technically, I’ve been a pimp because I managed girls, but I sure never managed them in any of the above ways, but maybe if I did I would have turned a profit and not had to fold my business. Pimps have choices, in legal situations and in street situations. Profit over people? HUMAN resources? or NONE of the above to get their money, and too many of them choose the latter, and THAT i have a BIG problem with.

  17. I am really disheartened that you and Amanda had such a shitty experience there. I hope it was just unique to Bella’s as opposed to something systemic.

    I interviewed several women who worked at brothels in NV (though none from Bella’s), and not a one of them related any kind of experience like this. Quite honestly, I’d be shellshocked myself and probably afriad to even try another brothel, though.

  18. Mariko I know there are fake simps and creeps who have mispimped on hookers and broke their hearts so they have given the Pimp Game a black eye so unfortunately people will misuse the word pimp for a synomyn for unfair exploiter, scumbag, bully and other negative connotations plus you have you have these rappers who are psuedo hustlers and fake players who rap about total bullshit like violence, selling crack cocaine and then they try to rap about pimping and prostitution, they have no real Game or finess. They equate Hoe (an honorable term for a bonafide Prostitute in our world) with a slut a woman who gives pussy away for free often without condoms. Also the average rapper or wannabe rapper or drug dealer are the biggest tricks, in a strip club they will “make it rain on strippers with money” then they will say they are pimping lol come on they are tricks. Also the most funny thing about them is that this hip hop culture is calling prostitutes tricks. It is like these rappers are trying to take the weight off of them by calling Hoes tricks lomfl, but sorry if you are paying a prostitute you are theTRICK sir not the prostitute. So you see that is why we have so much confusion especially with the linguistics today. Now as far as Bella and Shauna they are snakes they mis-madamed on you and Amanda Brooks. They are just scumbag opportunists who have a legal license to fuck over their workers. But I have to disagree with some of the indy or sex worker revolution philosophy. Some women need guidance and there is nothing wrong if she pays for that guidance. You respect the knowledge more if you pay for it. The Game is to be sold not to be told. A lot of tricks promoted the indy thing because they wanted cheaper prices not out of love for prostitutes because a lot of tricks are lower than whale shit and whale shit is on the bottom of the ocean so that’s very low indeed. I say the hell with what prices the tricks want. Keep the prices a certain level NICE AND HIGH (smile) and stop all the throat cutting on prices. There is nothing wrong getting dates on your own and there is nothing wrong with getting dates from a honorable stand-up agent or service owner. The split can be 50/50 if you are a turnout/newbie but 60/40 is cool especially if they get you 500-2000 dates. if you are a seasoned pro, a veteren Hoe who is dependable and dedicated 70/30 in your favor is more than fair for both parties. Incalls are usually 50/50 but you keep all your tips some incalls just charge a fee for use of the room by the hour or half hour. Stop teaching women Game who are not worthy of it especially stupid or weak women. They will only rank the biz or get strung out on hard drugs some snake trick or dope peddler will give them for “free” and they will knock the price of pussy down. But you should also get your own dates too. As far as PIMPS you have too really like or love that man and then he really got to feel the same way it is similiar to being married. If you hook up with someone that doesn’t like you only the money you make you are throwing that money away. But if you find a man who is a bonafide Pimp and there is a real attraction and you know in your heart this person cares about you and he is a winner and wants you to shine with him then it can be a wonderful thing. Being without a Pimp is like being single and alone being with one is a lot like being married. It is a lot like being Bonnie and Clyde without robbing banks with guns. The real sex revolution is to have high standards and a mutual respect for the real folks in the Game and lets run out all the snitches, busters, chumps, suckers and lames who are ranking it. That includes simps, fake madams, traffickers, unscrupulous service and incall owners, wanstitutes and junkies who practice unsafe sex and people who will not do things correct. Also of course to blackball unscrupulous tricks. Yes so live and learn everyday.

  19. Very poetically put. I’d love to talk to you more about this, or have you do a presentation with me somewhere. I learned while I was in jail with the other hoes who had pimps a lot about the romantic part of the relationship that you talk about. I personally could never be married to 3-4 hos at once. I love the word ‘wantstitute!’ Ha. There’s a lot of that in LA. But, i happen to be a poet as well and have been wanting to write lots of music and words about my experience in the brothel. I’ve long been fascinated with hip hop cultures use of the word pimp and ho and various rappers male/female’s appropriation of pimping and prostitution. And then my perspective of actually being a ho and how I feel about Ludacris and such ‘pimpin all over the world.” in which they aren’t even talking about pimping and ho’ing at all.. The words that come to mind are based on my activist friend Naomi in SF’s email address. (She’s worked in a brothel too coincidentally back in the day). The rest of the song will explain in more detail the nuances of all that we have both been talking about, how a pimp is not just superfly with a feather but could also be a whole system of abuse, but I”m curious if this offends you..because I hear what you are saying, but also know how i feel is pretty strong and personally lived.

    Here’s my hook:
    Pimps Down, HOs Up,
    That’s the way that we Rise UP

    ok,its’ just a start…gimme some time and i promise i’ll have a song after i keep thinking about my week at Bellas..

  20. PS. It can also, NOT be a system of abuse, as I’ve explained, but just a man who you choose to be and work with, I get this..Big.

  21. Thank you for your compliments. You seem to have a preety good head on your shoulders. If you would like to talk to me just feel free to e-mail me Mariko.

    pi4ever2007@yahoo.com

  22. Ugh, that’s awful. Here via a link someone posted on the sexworkers community on LJ.

    I’m feeling pretty damn ambivalent about prostitution and sex work in general in an organised “top dog takes most” setting, actually. There are good madams, managers, whatever, out there, but the sad fact of life is that most are not, and sex work is by its nature and the social stigma attached very difficult to manage while keeping one’s sanity intact. Add sucky management that only cares about getting the most out of its underlings and shit like what you experienced happens.

    I read back on what I wrote, and I sound like an advocate for anarcho/syndicalist type of brothels. Which, hey, wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. Ah, well. I can dream.

  23. OMG! I had no idea it was that bad.. Someone linked to my blog when I posed a question about brothels.

    Hope you dont mind if i linked to you so others can read too :)

    Best of luck,
    Amber

  24. [...] So you think the legal brothels in Nevada are a good thing?Read what these ladys have to say. Cautionary Words from a Nevada ((Bella’s)) brothel survivor Bound, Not Gagged – After Hours| random discourse from a retired escort They need there own union to stop this [...]

  25. I posted this to LPSG.More men need to know what it’s realy like.

  26. Please read my blog about Bella’s. I left two days ago and was still angry when I was writing it. Please excuse the typos. I havent met Mariko or Amanda, but I feel you.

  27. solali-
    I would like to read what you wrote. Where is it?

  28. ‘Sex work does NOT ever have to be like this.’

    ‘Fraid it does. It’s just a matter of time.

    Good piece. Exposes the canard that ‘legalisation’ ‘empowers’ hookers. It’s nothing more than stae-sanctioned protection racket. The market expands, and the streets as left with even more serious shit…

    Thanks for the info, and good luck.

  29. RealPimpin:

    A pimp is a parasite – mightn’t be a totally creepy parasite, but he/she’s still a parasite.

  30. I’m trying to understand how the Nevada legal brothels work. Much of what I’ve found so far suggests human rights violations, labor violations, and safety violations, with the towns in question taking an active role in this perpetration. I’ve read Farley’s and Albert’s books, and most of this blog and many of the blogs listed here, just to start, and am trying to get a balanced view. Anyone with first-hand knowledge or opinion, I’d really appreciate your point of view on the following:

    1) How does Dennis Hoff boast about having sex with most of the women working at the Bunny Ranch in an HBO quasi-documentary and not get charged with sexual harassment in the work place?
    2) Do you have to sign a contract when you start that details the fines you can receive? If not, what do you sign, if anything?
    3) Is it true that cell phones don’t work inside most brothels and you can only use the house phones on certain days and times?
    4) What about email? I think Mariko mentioned that many of the houses don’t allow laptops, but some do? When they do allow it, is there a wifi connection that’s always available?
    5) I noticed that now that the houses have websites, many of the workers post and reply to messages. What is the role of management in that communication?

    Thanks so much for any insight! I appreciate the candor, not to mention the wit, of many of the regular posters here.

  31. phenomenalwoman,

    I’ll give a shot at answering your questions. Understand I have not read Farley’s book about brothel work (but enjoyed Albert’s) and my US brothel experience is limited to a single brothel for a short span of time.

    1) From what I understand, the girls who sleep with him do so consenually. They probably see it as sleeping their way to the top, or something. Since it’s a brothel, everyone else just expects that to be business as usual anyway.

    2) Yes, you sign an employee contract that details everything, including prices you can charge. Though lip service is given to you being an “independent contractor” the very fact you’re signing a work contract that details your entire working life in the brothel means you’re really an employee.

    3) Don’t know. I do know that in rural NV, it is difficult for cell phones to get reception, depending on what service you have. I’d avoid using the house phones simply to avoid extra charges.

    4) Depends on the house. Some DO NOT allow laptops, others do. Bella’s did have a wifi connection. I guess the type of connection depends on the house. If you’re in a house that does not allow computer access, then you have no email.

    5) Have no idea. I would hope management encourages this to bring more business. Bella’s did not seem all that Web-savvy. More could be done on that end. However, Bella’s DID mandate CB time to bring in trucker business. I have no idea if houses who have Internet postings require daily postings from their employees or not. Guess it really depends on the house.

    XX

  32. Thanks so much for getting back to me, Amanda. I did not know about the CB component. Is that within the shift or outside of it? And do you get paid for it? If not, it seems to me that it’s another element that more closely reflects and employer/employee relationship, as opposed to contractor.

    I’m wondering if you have thoughts on the personalities/backgrounds of the women who work regularly at brothels as opposed to independents, although of course it’s always dangerous to generalize. But it seems to me that in some ways, it must be a particular kind of person who can spend 3 weeks out of every month locked inside a building, cut off from family and friends, responding to a bell and being a team player for 12+ hours a day. Then again, I suppose the money can be good and the legality a relief. And maybe it’s comforting to have a panic button in your room? Mariko’s tabasco sauce fiasco reminded me so much of the Nair in the shampoo bottle sabotage that one of the women in Albert’s book experienced. Is that just what happens when people are cooped up together or is it a product of truly having become part of the machine of a brothel? If you’d stayed longer, could you have grown close to anyone? I blather on because I can’t quite put my finger on my question.

    Thanks again for getting back to me.

    And if anyone has more insight on the email and other communications components, I’d love to hear.

  33. Dennis Hoff is a pimp. Some pimps do not sleep with the girls, some always do. The hos who have pimps are proud of both being a ho and having a pimp so sleeping with him or her is an honor. Having kids with him gives you more ranking and negotiating power. Making money for the daddy or house is your duty and you will FIGHT other bitches in order to get this done. I started reading this book called “Brothel” by Alexa Albert. It’s the story of a green researcher who i think turns into a sex worker by observing the girls at the Mustang Ranch and writing about them. I highly recommend it to you. It was part of my healing to know that the shit that I experienced was not new at all. Brothels used to REQUIRE that girls had pimps so they would be kept in line. It is hard to tell a girl how she should work but in recently working with prop K and hearing other people’s fears of “pimps and traffickers” told me that most people understand very little about the ubiquitous nature of pimps and prostitution in their everday worlds. If the pimping is abusive then it could be regulated under domestic violence laws or assault and battery laws, except the strange bonding around sex and the primal nature of the work makes for a topic that is very close to home for people. And not all pimping is physically abusive. I would argue that much of it is psychologically abusive, and has so many elements of cult and ritual abuse, and brainwashing. But the girls who are in the situation themselves, are quite content as far as they know. Unless they have a Farleyan “false consciousness.”

  34. The CB radio shifts were REQUIRED of anyone working at Bella’s. It sucked. Since I’ve never been a phone sex worker (nor wanted to be one), this was terribly uncomfortable to me and a waste of my time. But since I was an employee, it was required. You are assessed fines if you miss your time slot.

    The women at Bella’s that I knew were either from the street and so Bella’s seemed like the better deal; or they were complete sex work newbies and had no idea there were other ways to work. They all liked that they did not have to fear arrest. Since I’ve been an indie, I feel the arrest trade-off was not worth the total loss of my freedom 24/7 (as opposed to the potential of a short stint in jail).

    I liked the women there and felt I made working-friends with them. My issues were all with management and the environment.

    Really, it’s different strokes for different folks. Some women are comfortable working for agencies, others in strip clubs, others on the street, others off the Internet, some have boyfriends, some are married, some with kids or without…sex work is so broad and adaptable to so many people that some aspects will always work for some while not working for others. It’s up to the sex worker to find the niche she likes best. There are always other options!

    XX

  35. Not all houses require you to work the CB, so if that’s not something you’re interested in doing, it would be a good idea to contact the houses or get onto boards, such as http://www.nvbrothels.net or http://www.nevadabrotheltimes.com and ask people to recommend houses where you don’t have to work the CB.

  36. When we were working on prop K, we were holding a banner to start our march outside a stripclub which is known to have $400 stage fees and be a defacto high class brothel that is protected by the cops because the ex-Mayor used to be the clubs lawyer. One of the workers coming in yells at us,”Fuck decriminalizing prostitution. Legalization will HURT OUR money. Do me a favor and get out of our industry!” she said as she was heading into the club.
    “What if we are in your industry…?”I called after her. She continued to yell out the window of the dressing room. “Get OUT of here!”

    This reminded me of the brothel in ways. Here we have a girl who is clearly content with her pimp/club/system of working, because it makes her so much money she is grateful to the house, even if it is inherently exploitative. She is told she is an independent contractor, she gets occasional limo rides to work, AND she is told by her pimp (which could be one or many people whose interest is club profit off the labor of the women employed there) that LEGAL/DECRIMINALIZATION IS BAD FOR HER. And she will see anyone else who espouses a different way of working, even if that way is better for her and the population as a whole as a threat. Girls in the brothel are the same way. They will fight to show that they have embraced the way of management, they are content with this way, and need to show pimp/management/house that they are grateful. Girls that I met in jail who had pimps, bragged on about their men to each other. I got along with these girls instantly and they schooled me in some terminology from their angle of the game. This is how I learned what a bottom bitch was. I seemingly got along with some of the girls in the brothel. But slowly things started to go awry and I stopped being able to know who I could trust. I would not be suprised if the woman that I felt like I befriended the most was the one who did the pouring of the tabasco sauce. This is the complex nature of what happens to the personas of people as they work and live under this type of control. I’m sure the girls in jail would have shown similar patterns, but we didn’t stay together long enough.

    There have been studies on this in psychology. It isn’t behavior that is unique to sex work. (but it does disproportionately seem to be true of poor and/or women of color communities, esp just the jail part) Boot camp, jail, some school classrooms operate to condition the people in them very effectively to stay in line. their/your survival depends on it. There are trade offs in all forms of this work. It seems to be true that those workers that are in a certain more controlled situations seem to “accept” the trade offs and “need” the relationship that she/he has with the pimp/house. When people ask me if I have a pimp, they usually imagine the one vision Superfly costume stereotype, but I’ve definitely had pimps/houses. But the pimps/managers/houses have to very hands off and as little of that bullshit conditioning that usually comes with management in this work. But it’s pretty impossible to avoid. My agency takes 66% of every show I do. This is total pimping! But I accept it, because I get 4-8 shows a shift and it makes more money for ME than independent advertising my true picture and details ever did. Plus, because no one has my real details or phone numbers it is good if you want no exposure and/or can’t afford advertising. Other escorts I know don’t understand why I don’t just put up my own ads, etc. I am not pimped in ways that I will fight to protect my way of working and fight girls for it, but I do feel that I accept certain exploitation in exchange for income and protections. In my form of escort work, keeping prostitution illegal creates income for most of the girls that do this work. Most of them take money from the guy and NEVER have sex, because prostitution is illegal they say to the guy and hang out and strip for him after collecting $6-700 and sometimes leave without doing anything. I make money being full service because there are so many agency girls in So Cal that DON’T provide sexual services. Decriminalization will eliminate their income and come to think of it, of course it will eliminate jobs and change the way sex work is done, but social justice is never in favor of the pure capitalist that puts profit over people anyway.

  37. Interesting conversation. I have discovered that I can punch nobody’s time clock in life, and I wish to be beholden to nobody. I especially have a hard time following orders from someone I feel is intellectually or spiritually inferior to me. So brothels and retail sales in malls would never work for me. I have to be an independent freelancer in whatever I do in life. I am fortunate that I currently have such options.

    The whole brothel system seems very militant to me- authoritarian and parochial. Not appealing at all.

  38. True, not every house believes in the power of the CB radio (thank god).

    And Markio made the biggest point of all — we need the law to set us free first before anything else. Because every system of sex work that falls under prostitution laws has inherent flaws; artificially creating dangers and situtations that are not to the worker’s advantage — including legal brothels.

    Fix the laws (like Prop K) and a lot of other things will fall in place.

    Personally, I’d like to reform the legal brothel system. If some girls see it as their only safe option, then it needs to be made truly safe for them. But that’s my own thing.

    XX

  39. I often kick myself for the things I used to believe because someone told me or I saw it on TV or read it in the paper – and then years later found out I was a victim of marketing. I’ve been learning slowly because of this to start asking deeper questions, research things for myself, etc. An example is learning how to read food labels. Who knew they make strawberry ice cream redder for example by using crushed up beetles? Marketing is why they lie to us – they lie to us about what’s in our food. They lie to us about what our politicians are up to. The list goes on – but then we’re surprised to find out that the men who want to dominate the sex industry and it’s workers are lying to us. For YEARS I believed for example that the only place it was legal in the world was either the brothels in Nevada – or you had to go to another country. Why? Because of what I’m told or read. Have I ever sat down and looked up the laws myself? No I hadn’t and now wonder these men walk around gloating that we’re just stupid whores. I don’t believe we’re going to change anything until more of us get registered to vote and know who our politicians are. I’m willing to be money that most of us on this blog for example don’t know who are representatives are locally or even in our state – nor do we know their stand on the laws governing sex work. I say that confidently because I’ve been making a list of just that and calling them and asking them. By how shocked they sound – I know I’m the first one to call them. No wonder they don’t care about us when writing bills and pasing laws. We’re not contributing to their campaigns, we don’t blog about them, we don’t show up at their meetings, and we don’t vote them in or out. We are not holding them accountable to us. You can also imagine my surprise when someone told me I can actually work legally in Clark County. I don’t have to work at a brothel or risk being arrestted any where else. I don’t have to get a massage license and pretend I’m only there to massage out the kinks and lug around a stupid massage table. I don’t have to work for some scumbag who claims to have cops in his pocket. i checked Clark County business codes and made a few phone calls – and guess what folks? Yep. I can work with an outcall license in Clark County. It’s legal. I have certain boundaries so we don’t let the neigbors know what I”m doing – but it’s still legal. Surprise surprise. We have got to stop blaming others for our problems with this industry – and start taking control. Just like food manufacturers are now posting ingrediants on labels – because the consumer demanded it. We as sex workers – if we want it to be a legal business – need to start acting like business women. And business women vote, and know who their politicans are, and go to fund raising luncheons, and they get involved with their community and politics. A pimp is a pimp and men like Dennis Hof don’t want us knowing what our rights are so they can keep making us thing they are in control of us – or like abused women run scared thinking we are in trouble without them. Well no more for this enlightened woman!

  40. PS – to further prove my point – how many on this board know that indoor prostitution is legal in Rhode Island? I’ll keep you posted as I keep reading up on each state’s statutes what I find out.

  41. Yes, we do know it’s legal indoors in Rhode Island. And yes, some of us in Vegas understand an outcall license is legal in Vegas — which is how all these agencies operate. Though the girls working for them get busted on a regular basis (so I’m told) — my understanding is the person holding the license is safe because they’re not the ones in the room trying to make a living off tips/services.

    The point of following local politicans is a good one. Some of us do, some don’t. For the things we’re trying to achieve — legal knowledge is very neccessary.

    XX

  42. I’ve been a sex worker activist for about 10 years, and I’ve NOT voted more years than I’ve voted. Working on prop K and going to the democratic party gala and playing the same “everyday neighbor” presentation like the Prop 8 queers taught me A LOT about ONE aspect of making change. It is a major one and I see it for its power and its transparency. Just like most politics and politicians.

    Prop K was written by a sex worker/pimp Maxine Doogan and that is one of the things that makes it so cool. Sex workers DID write legislation in San Francisco. It was pushed forward by a number of privileged people who were definitely sex workers but could afford to devote 20-30 hours making it happen and donating $1000s of their own income to keep it minimally competitive, but nevertheless prop K was powered by the prostitutes, no doubt. It was powered by prostitutes that make upwards of $600 a nite or had sugar daddies but it was still powered by the prostitutes. It was also powered by other sex workers and allies who make $250 a week, as well and even for the supposedly high rolling whores in our group it was not easy. But, Street workers, drug users, more women of color representation was SORELY lacking in organizing teams. I feel that most of us know this and want to do it better next time. And believe me, there will be a next time! We did have diversity of age, allies, weight, gender to some degree, and were mostly queer, with the endorsement of the SF Democratic party, we had hetero straight and straight straight people backing us too! It all happened SO very quickly that we didn’t have the time to get everyone involved, people didn’t have the ability to drop everything and get involved. Outreach at such a late stage would seem evasive and superficial (bursting into massage parlors to get them to sign a petition for example),although a few members did manage to do a lot of targeted outreach/translated flyers even considering the time constraints and everyone needing to work on their “income jobs” at the same time. I flew up and down b/t SF and LA twice to sustain prop K work. Policy is created by people with money. We can do better next time, and that will be the bill that wins.

    The average voters are scared of the scary pimp monster that they don’t know about but have been told is really bad! Robyn Few the founder of SWOP is always getting called a pimp as a bad thing because she was a convicted madam. She’s the best example I have of a good pimp that is in there with the lobbyists and supervisors TIRELESSLY. That was never my game. Robyn Few “turned so many of us out” to…sex worker activism!! And we all do our version of it differently but under the name of SWOP and adhere to one loose mission around non violence and decriminalization. Some of us do that voting/legislation angle, some of us do not. Sex workers rights is needed in every arena, because of the privilege factors in voting and politics we need to make sure the voices of those who cannot and don’t want to vote are included. This law will effect them too.

    I’m a performance artist, a writer, an anarchist that didn’t believe in voting. We do what we can, with the tools we have, with where we are in life. this is why I try to not be down on people who think or work differently as long as it works for them and doesn’t HURT other workers. Knowledge can be attained constantly without even touching the legislative branch. In CA, convicted felons can vote, but in other states. But, If I would have known having my ID could have gotten me a ticket instead of jail time, I might not have met all those wonderful women and expanded my vocabulary!

  43. Does anyone know when the legal Nevada brothels stopped requiring pimps? And is it true that many brothel workers still do have pimps? I’m interested in more of your thoughts on the definition of a pimping relationship, Mariko and others. And by the way, Mariko, in Albert’s BROTHEL, if you haven’t read the Sisterhood chapter yet, skip ahead to the Nair incident, in which I think your own Tabasco incident will come to mind.

    Thanks again.

  44. Yes, the sisterhood chapter and that whole book has lots of brothelisms which seem to be just common place..! Can you believe girls putting holes in condoms of other girls?? How evil is that? The brothel is a great example of how divide and conquer works to the advantage of the power structure. You can try to be open minded and have a different experience, but the history of the brothels, who has benefited and how it works to stay the way it is make it very difficult to write a different ending to the story. But it works well if you are up for a life impacting experience and perhaps need to be invisible or run away for a few weeks…

  45. I know one of the girls I worked with had a pimp (and spent the entire time on the phone with him, making me wonder why she was bothering to be away from him). Another girl might’ve had a pimp, I don’t know. The rest were simply girls who needed money.

    I have no idea what the pimp-ratio is in the brothels these days. Guess it depends on the brothel and its hiring practices. Or when the brothels opened up to the idea of free agent girls.

    Though, realistically, the brothel itself is a pimp.

    XX

  46. I worked at Bella’s. I’m thinking of starting a class-action lawsuit for worker’s rights. I don’t want to mess up any decrim work that’s going on, though. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Raven

  47. when I left I felt the same way…I’ve heard different people support the idea over the months, but nothing really concrete beyond verbal support. LOTS of people we know as sex worker rights feminists have worked there since me and Amanda, but we have yet to really talk to each other beyond this blog about what we could and might do.

  48. Hi Ravensbreath:
    Best wishes on your class action lawsuit. I don’t see how your lawsuit would mess up any of our decrim. efforts, so I totally support you in this. We share your concern for sex workers’ rights, so I say go for it! Please let us know any ways we can be of help and keep us updated on the process.

  49. Sad. I always suspected those places were controlling and skeevy especially after watching Dennis Hoff on HBO and thinking that guy was nothing more than a pimp dressed up to look respectable. I can sense energy even from afar and the prickly hairs on my arms told me Dennis Hoff and his counterparts are, well, controlling and skeevy.

  50. Stiletto,

    Yes, he’s a pimp. Period. Not even all that respectable.

    XX

  51. hi, i am wondering what brothel this was… perhap email me privatly i work in a brothel and story sounds familiar and hope its not where i am pls let me know. thans jazmine

  52. This brothel is called Bella’s in Wells, NV. You can read more of Mariko’s experience on her blog: http://marikopassion.wordpress.com/

    XX
    Amanda

  53. It’s rather odd and hypocritical to benefit from sex work, but then keep it out of sight and out of mind. In Nevada, this means having a brothel out in the middle of nowhere, instead of in Las Vegas or Reno where the customers actually are. Oh, but you can gamble, all right. Right in the middle of town.

  54. Dennis Hoff calls himself “pimp master general” and his girls call him daddy..Bella is still a pimp, even if she isn’t having sex with her workers she is still brainfucking them into being obedient and complacent about the conditions.

  55. Bella’s is a nightmare….You’re not the only survivor.

  56. Yes Mariko…and B also makes her women work regardless of their point in the cycle. I went UNPAID there. And my earning records disappeared. Nightmare …. absolute nightmare.

  57. Elyssa — Thank you so much for coming forward. I’m so sorry you had a horrible experience as well.

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