tv Sex Slaves in America MSNBC July 5, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera. they came to america hoping to improve their lives. >> i was supposed to go to virginia beach for work as a waitress. >> but from the moment they arrived, they became captive property of dangerous men with horrifying plans. >> translator: he said look, fresh meat from el salvador. >> forced to work under threat of death in america's booming sex industry. >> these are slaves, but it's the most egregious kind of slavery, it's sex slaves. >> it's a billion dollar industry thriving in the heart of our cities. >> it's living quarters. >> how many people do you think live back here?
>> i would say about four or five of them. >> where young women and girls find themselves trapped with no way out. >> this is a multi-billion dollar industry. >> msnbc goes undercover to investigate "sex slaves in america." hello, i'm meredith vieira. every year human rights advocates estimate almost a million women worldwide are illegally bought and sold into sexual slavery. what you might not know is that over 17,000 of them end up right here in the united states. in the next hour, you will hear some of their harrowing stories. to protect these women, their names have been changed. it's a story that begins in the ruins of the shattered soviet empire and ends in heartland america. >> i was watching a lot of tv
shows about human trafficking, and i could never believe that could happen to me. and when i get in this situation, i believe this can happen anytime. >> this woman we'll call katya now shares her destiny with a million young women and girls bought and sold in the global sex industry. it has long been a problem, particularly in katya's home country of ukraine where young women enticed by fake job ads and slick recruiters end up modern day sex slaves. >> salary starts from $200 a month. >> single mother sophia left her son in ukraine for what she thought was a housekeeping job in the czech republic. her enslavement was immediate. >> they made all of us take our clothes off and took us out naked. they made us bend, sit down, walk. i felt like i was an animal, a horse. >> sophia says she was forced to have sex with up to 11 men a day. her friend natasha was sent to a neighboring brothel owned by the village police chief. >> translator: the brothel is on the highway.
there were nine of us. we had to dance half naked in the window all the time. it's impossible to run away. there is nothing except highways and brothels. >> these roadside brothels on an isolated country road near the czech/german border are just a small part of the worldwide marketplace. >> san francisco, los angeles, new york, st. paul, minnesota, this happens in almost every major community you could think of. >> it happened in detroit, and it happened to 20-year-old katya, a university student who signed up with a friend to study abroad by waitressing in virginia beach. but the girls would never reach virginia, and they wouldn't be waitresses. her attorney, notre dame university law professor bridgette carr, explains. >> they were met at the airport by michael erenhoff and alex maksimenko, the traffickers, and they were told that you know what, plans have changed. you're going to be going to detroit. you need to get on this bus. so they were nervous, but they
thought, this is the plan. maybe my job is now in detroit. they didn't even know where detroit was. they didn't speak much of the language. when they got to detroit, as katya says, everything changed. >> after a grueling 15-hour bus ride to detroit, the men brought them to a hotel and asked them for their passports and money. then they gave the girls the true and terrible terms of their employment. >> just that you guys, because we brought you here, you should give us $12,000 each for everything. and for paperwork you've got to give us $25,000, which for me was incredible money, and they said, you guys are going to work for us and give us money for three months. they brought us clothes. it was strip clothes and shoes, and they say you guys are going to work at the club named cheetah, and you guys are going to work monday through saturday, double shift 2:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. >> for katya, a year of terror and abuse was about to begin.
>> would go to work, work 12 hours a day there, and at the end of the shift, 2:00 in the morning there was waiting for us outside of the club in the car was sitting in the car, give the money back. they drove us back to our apartment. sometimes they rape us, emotionally and physically. they could do anything with us. that was every single day of my life for one year. >> the two students were kept under lock and key and constant surveillance. the traffickers maintained control with intimidation and a campaign of terror. >> i was threatened every single day when we're going to work in the car, he was telling us you're going to have to make $1,000 a day. if you're not making this money, we'll find a way when you can make us money. that was really scary, too. he was telling us that he can sell us to any country, to any person, any time. >> i know of women who have been bought for $300, $400, $500.
>> besides being katya's attorney, bridgette carr represents other victims of trafficking. >> once i started looking into the issue and realizing that i wanted to be an advocate for victims of human trafficking, it seemed like i couldn't turn around without trafficking hitting me in the face. >> almost every girl who i knew was sexually abused, raped. it wasn't in front of me but it was in another room where i could hear, i could actually see after the girl was talking about that. >> alex and michael had keys to the apartment, and they treated both the apartment and the individuals inside it as their own property. alex would walk in and tell some of the women, "let's go. it's time to get in the shower." which meant he was going to rape them. and you couldn't say no. and even if you did say no, he would still force you to do it. he would force you whenever he wanted, for some women multiple times per week every week, every month. sometimes spanning over years of time. >> i don't believe any of those girls had sex against their will. >> michael rataj is alex
maksimenko's lawyer, and he admits -- >> they were laundering money, okay? they did take a lion's share of the money that the girls made in the bars. they did hide it from the government. they did bring the girls here without the proper immigration papers, and of course, the girls were forced to work in these bars. but in terms of them being bought and sold for like a cow or a pig, you know, or a chattel, or the allegations that they were routinely sexually abused, it just didn't happen. >> the girl who was living with me, i saw her body was a lot of violence. you could see the scratch, bites, it was scary to look at it. i was thinking i'm going to be next if i will say something. i'm going to just stay as quiet as i am and go through it the next day for a better future. every day for -- until now, i'm living, i'm scared that something can happen anytime.
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for almost a year, 20-year-old katya, a university student from ukraine, was forced to work strip clubs in detroit by two men she thought were taking her to a waitressing job in america. alex maksimenko and michael erenhoff imprisoned her and 15 other women in separate apartments around detroit. >> we couldn't keep any money in our apartment because the guys has keys that have -- i believe they would listen to us in the apartment and we could not hide nothing. if we try to save at least a dollar, it will be something bad happen to us. >> those 12-hour shifts yielded up to $1,000 a day, but the girls were forced to hand over every penny to their traffickers. >> they have a beautiful house. they have mercedes, brand new, they have cadillacs. they have the best clothes,
versace. they have everything. they spent all our money for their well-being. >> there was no armed guard outside of their door, okay? there was -- maksimenko didn't sit inside the bar, you know, the entire 12 hours and -- with a gun in his pocket. >> michael rataj, maksimenko's attorney, argues the girls could have left any time. >> if you make any false moves or try to run out of here, i'm going to kill you, there was none of that. >> bridget carr, katya's attorney, scoffs at that notion. she says the girls knew that maksimenko had recently firebombed the car of a girl's sister who tried to help her escape. >> alex and michael told her if you try to leave, we'll kill your family back in ukraine. these are women who were taken from everything they knew, thought they were going to something completely different, thought they were going to be waitresses in virginia beach for the summer and go back to university in ukraine. so if these men could do that to them, why couldn't they kill? >> katya says the constant fear and humiliation led to depression and worse.
>> you know, 12 hours a day at same place over and over again, the same people, it's terrible. it's the nastiest place to ever be. i felt miserable every single day when i was going to the shower, i was hating myself. i was even thinking about suicide many times because i didn't have a choice to get out. and one day it was just enough for me. i'm thinking i'm going to do this. i will see how it's going to go. >> for katya the only alternative to suicide was a risky escape. it turns out that her girlfriend had confided in a customer, who had promised to help the girls. that customer called law enforcement. immigration agent angus lowe took the call. >> agent lowe. i got a call from a concerned citizen. he had met some girls working at a strip club called cheetahs. he said, you should check this club out. these girls are treated like slaves over there. >> agent lowe told the man to bring the girls to immigration.
so on february 14th, 2005, in the dark hours of early dawn, the girls made a run for it. the customer waited for them in his car. >> in the morning we went in the car, close our door and run away. >> the escape took months to plan. even though the girls earned more than $1,000 a day, they only dared to take a few dollars at a time. >> what they would do is hide the money in a cookie tin which they buried under this particular bush. agents recovered the cookie tin shortly after the arrests, and there was about $700 in the cookie tin, which is all they were able to save up in preparation for their escape. >> the women were free but not of the terror that had haunted them for so long. >> when i ran away the same day, i couldn't sleep. i was so scared. i called my mom, i say i don't know what's going to be.
i'm still very scared. >> and what did katya's mother say when she called? >> when i ran away, she said that she's very grateful that i made it. and when i saw her first time for two years, she was so excited to see me alive. >> when we went into the house on a search warrant, in the basement in the rafters we found a small bag, about $50,000 cash in that bag and keys to a bunch of safe deposit boxes. we found $62,000 in one box and the one that i got to open just by chance happened to be the one with the most money, there was $255,000 in there. >> when all was said and done, the agents confiscated over $500,000 in cash from the traffickers along with guns and special recording devices. >> it's helpful for the trafficker to know what's going on. they would use the recordings to try to pit one girl against the other. it puts more fear into the girls because somehow these men know
things that they weren't privy to. >> the federal case against maksimenko was a slam-dunk. and his lawyer knew it. rather than take his chances with a jury, he pled guilty to trafficking and was convicted of rape. the owners of the strip clubs were not charged with trafficking. michael rataj says despite his client's treatment of the girls, alex maksimenko is also a victim. >> i think in some ways, in sort of a perverse way, alex is a victim. he's a victim of his upbringing. he's a victim of his father. he didn't have a father who took him, you know, and taught him how to throw a baseball or was involved in his life. his father's a criminal. he taught him how to be a criminal. >> while alex receives 14 years for the crime, trafficker michael erenhoff received a reduced sentence of seven years for testifying against his former partner. katya says neither sentence is long enough. >> i feel that when -- that she told judge that they will sit
for that period of amount of time, i feel it wasn't enough for them. what they did to us, it was terrible. >> even today, with both men behind bars, katya lives in fear. her mother still lives in ukraine and the old rules still apply. >> alex's father, he was in ukraine and he knows my mom, he know where she lived and he visited her a couple of times after i ran away. he threatened her. he used very aggressive words. he said if i will not stop talking, that blood will come out from me. >> katya is one of the few women with the courage to come forward. she even testified before congress. >> and every day for until now, i'm living, i'm scared that something can happen anytime. >> people will often talk about there's been a bust and a number
of prostitutes have been found. well, i wish our language could change because saying that someone is a prostitute denotes a choice. these women, many women, are actually prostituted. >> we've seen such horrific crimes involving sex trafficking. >> marcie forman oversees hundreds of special agents tasked with cracking down on criminals who traffic women. >> it's all about the money. these organized criminals don't think of these people as human beings. they think of them in dollars and cents. >> $65 for 15 minutes of sex several times a night per girl. >> translator: the man grabbed me and he put his hands on me. n. your blog is just pictures of you in the mirror. it's called a fashion blog, todd. well, i've been helping people save money with progressive's discounts. flo, can you get janice a job? [ laughs ] you should've stuck to softball! i was so much better at softball than janice, dad. where's your wife, todd? vacation. discounts like homeowners', multi-policy -- i got a discount on this ham.
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enjoying what she's doing. >> fbi agent maritska vasquez says the men who frequent these secret brothels should understand the girls they buy work under duress. >> the truth is when you're told you're going to be working as a prostitute, if you don't do that, they're going to kill your family, your children, your siblings. that's enough to keep you there. you don't have to be in chains because the chains in this case are psychological, not physical. >> in just two years, the fbi field office in houston has interviewed over 100 young women who were held captive, prisoners forced to perform sex acts for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. >> they were usually young, as young as 14 years old. >> agent vasquez assigned to the harris county trafficking task force says hundreds of young women are held in these seemingly harmless-looking bars and restaurants. >> they look normal from the outside. if you drive by one of them, you
would not think more than, what a busy business. >> translator: he raped me. i didn't know him. >> 20-year-old carla sanchez says instead of the restaurant job she was promised, she was beaten and raped within hours of her arrival from el salvador. then she was thrown to a group of men. >> translator: he said, they're going to tell you to drink with them because every drink you have goes towards paying off your trip here. >> the cantinas work like this -- if a client buys a beer, it costs him $3. if a client wants a girl, he has to pay $13 for her beer. in the time it takes that girl to drink that beer, he's allowed to touch her anywhere on her body. >> translator: he took me over to one of the clients who was a good friend of his. he said, look, fresh meat from el salvador. >> just a few weeks after single mother lucia hernandez said good-bye to her children, she found herself in a cantina, surrounded by strange men. >> translator: he put me between the man's legs.
and he said, "here, you can do whatever you want with her." the man grabbed me and he put his hands on me. and i said, "let go of me." >> hernandez left her bakery business in el salvador for what she thought was a well-paying factory job. instead she found herself trapped with 20 women in a squalid cantina. the devoted mother who never drank pleaded with her captor. >> translator: i said, walter, i don't like this work. i'm leaving. i'll pay you some other way but i will pay you. he said, "you can't leave here." i said, "why, if i'm still going to pay you what i owe?" he said, "just see what happens if you try to leave. i'll go after your family." >> agent vasquez says if the $13 beers aren't enough, traffickers offer patrons access to mattresses in the back of the cantina. >> that's how the scheme works.
$65 for 15 minutes of sex several times a night per girl. some of them even have quotas they have to comply with. one of the girls was told you need to make $1,000 a night. or if you don't, we're going to beat you up. you're going to be in trouble. and if you do the math, $65 for who knows, 20, 30 clients a night, that's a lot of money. >> translator: every time i started work, i had to drink five or six beers. so i wouldn't feel like i existed. so that i could escape. >> every month, the girls were given birth control injections. if the girls became pregnant, they were forced to have an abortion. just how brutal were the traffickers? the fbi says a 16-year-old girl who arrived pregnant was forced to have a late-term abortion. she took this picture to remember her child.
>> this girl could be my sister. >> jose benitez provides services for victims of human trafficking and forced labor in houston. he says ruthless traffickers have no qualms exploiting children recruited outside their high schools. >> one day i saw one girl, she's 15 years old, and i asked her how many men she had in her life. she told me more than 200. and believe me, she reminded me of my daughter and this is -- i don't want to remember this story because it makes me cry. because i saw her body, you know? i was in the hospital when i saw her like this, very bad. >> operating on information that over 100 young girls and women were being held in cantinas, the
fbi moved in to free the women during a midnight raid. but their troubles weren't over. >> translator: when i ran, there was a helicopter shining a light down on us. i twisted my ankle and they told me if i ran, they would shoot me. so i stopped. a man got out of the helicopter and they brought us back inside. one of the agents hit me and pushed me and i fell on the carpet. >> initially authorities kept the women in jail for six months. both said that at first they were too afraid to share their story until agents convinced them to cooperate. even though their captors are in jail, their visas are about to expire and they fear the long arm of central american organized crime where it can cost less than $150 to kill someone. >> translator: they could kill me, because of my statement and for telling the truth. i'm afraid for my children, my mother and for me. >> meanwhile, many traffickers continue to elude authorities. >> how profitable is the business of human trafficking? when you have a kilo of cocaine
and you're going to sell it, once that kilo of cocaine is gone, you don't have anything. when you have a human being, you have a reusable resource. these human beings can be used over and over and over again, daily basis. maybe for years. >> hi, have you been here before? >> no, i haven't. >> okay, it's $60. u know that the tripadvisor you've always trusted for reviews, book! now checks over 200 websites to find the best price? book...book...book! so don't just visit tripadvisor... book at tripadvisor. you drop 40 grand on a new set of wheels, then... wham! a minivan t-bones you. guess what: your insurance company will only give you 37-thousand to replace it. "depreciation" they claim. "how can my car depreciate before it's first oil change?" you ask. maybe the better question is, why do you have that insurance company?
their second child. now back to msnbc undercover. msnbc wanted to get a firsthand look at the houston cantinas that law enforcement described as modern day prisons for hundreds of young women. fbi agents warned that while the cantinas looked like regular restaurants or nightclubs, traffickers guard their profit-making houses carefully and not just anyone is allowed access. as the day turned into night, we found a bustling empire with parking attendants who directed traffic and helped organize the arrangement of vehicles. there were even taco stands outside, serving midnight snacks to cantina customers. we caught occasional glimpses of prostituted women outside the club. with multiple security cameras, all of the cantinas we saw were well guarded with gun-toting
security men, manning the entrances and exits of the bars. we took our hidden cameras inside to document what the girls and the fbi described as a modern day slave market. this cantina is a bustling flea market by day, but at night men can buy the company of girls and women. in the dark interior, our cameras captured this dim image of a cantina worker dancing with a client. and after paying for a $10 beer, this young girl came to sit with our guys. and the third night of our surveillance, we got to experience firsthand the threat and severity with which traffickers guard their profits. men spotted our cameras and we were followed for several blocks before losing the car. >> our guy was kind of nervous and he knew the area and knew that we had cause for concern. >> you're going to see only security now. >> we had one incident where someone approached the car with a gun, and i think they had just seen us around. we had driven past a few times and they had had some communication either via cell
phones, radios or whatever with some of the other cantinas in this one major intersection in downtown houston. >> the organized threat we felt driving in the neighborhood gave us a deeper understanding of why the women trapped in cantinas couldn't run away. [ speaking foreign language ] >> it became clear to us that the cantina owners would do anything to protect their operation. >> we were driving past this cantina and the lookout ran up to the car with a gun and we pulled out. let's go. pulled out and sort of do one of those with the car. >> you have to do it because you need money. >> 30-year-old cholanda says that trafficked girls in houston are everywhere, not just in cantinas. she was trafficked from thailand
to philadelphia before ending up at this massage parlor in houston. she says everyone knows that massage parlors are houses of prostitution. >> when they come, they pay money and then they go take a shower, sauna and go to massage and go to have sex and let him go. 45 minutes. >> this petite thai woman says instead of the american dream she was promised, she ended up working for 12 years, forced to have sex with hundreds of strange men to pay off an impossible debt. >> you come to work at restaurant. small money. you owe me $55,000. how can you finish paying in six or seven months 55,000 u.s. what can you do? they ask you, i don't know. they take you to work spa massage. it's really good money. a day, you can get $1,000, $2,000 a day. no. you no choice. you have to do it.
you cannot have choice. oh i need that, i need this. no, you have to do what the boss tells you. >> massage parlors like these don't even bother hiding the fact that sex is for sale. websites like this one offer detailed reviews of women and the sex acts they offer so men can know what to expect. like a tourist guide to restaurants or a consumer review of cars, men can go online to review the size of a particular girl's breasts, how she is shaved and whether she will give a patron the full girlfriend experience which means sex without condoms. msnbc decided to take hidden cameras into the massage parlor where cholanda says she was forced to work. we wanted to see how they operate. >> hi. have you been here before? >> no, i have not. how much? >> $50. >> okay. >> and then you can tip. >> yes. >> okay. >> just as cholanda described, clients must immediately give the house $60 in cash which our cameraman did. but when the cameraman asked
about specific details, the woman became very vague. >> what does $60 include? >> shower and full body. >> anything after that? do you have a full service? >> huh-uh. >> nothing? $60 is just a massage? >> it's the massage. >> okay, great. is there any other services i can get here? >> law enforcement warned us that the women are forbidden from verbalizing their services and often use hand gestures or nonverbal cues to communicate sex acts. >> you can't talk about it? >> no, i cannot. >> oh, i'm sorry. after the shower, we'll discuss? okay, cool. >> our cameraman decided not to go any further in the event he might break the law so he left quickly. law enforcement says the explosion of massage parlors illustrates the public's acceptance of institutionalized prostitution. >> we've become so complacent, we say it's not in my backyard
just like it doesn't affect me. but if you think it doesn't, think again. >> judith momo, who assists victims of trafficking, says every american should be alarmed about the public health consequences that comes with the explosion of cheap sex offered at these massage parlors and secret brothels. >> they have sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, syphilis. one person takes it, passes it on to the other person. and by the time you look at it you have 15, 20 or even 100 people infected from this one little lady who was trafficked. and they are right in your neighborhood. >> these are slaves. in this day and age, slavery exists in cities like san francisco, but it's the most egregious kind of slavery, sex slaves. >> mayor gavin newsom of san francisco takes the issue of slavery in his city very personally. >> if it weren't so real, because i've seen it, i've seen it firsthand, i would not
believe it. and most people drive by. they don't believe this stuff. they say, well, maybe it happens a little, but you're exaggerating. give me a break. exaggerating. every single one of these massage establishments, almost every single one, this is happening in all of them. >> newsom has made fighting the businessmen who profit from ruined lives a top priority by appointing a public health task force to shut down massage parlors suspected of trafficking women. >> come on out. health department. have a seat. >> when i first went in there, there were plenty of girls with johns. they were scantly clothed. they had very little on.
houston to one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in downtown san francisco, young foreign women and girls say they have been forced into an unbearable life of slavery. >> the u.s. attorney's office announced today the results of a nine-month investigation into an illegal sex trafficking ring operating in the bay area. >> approximately 100 women were recovered. >> they say they confiscated millions of dollars in cash from inside the businesses. >> that was a big wake-up call. >> in early 2005, after local businessmen were arrested for enslaving over 100 korean women in downtown san francisco, mayor newsom ordered city raids on massage parlors, raids newsome attended. >> i walked in once, kid you not, large guy, 5:30, downtown financial district in downtown san francisco in an office building, you would never know what was going on, walked in right there, young girl is thrown off this guy as we raided the place and this guy has a wedding ring on. this is real. it's a disgrace. >> but federal prosecution of trafficking takes years so the mayor and his staff chose not to wait. >> once we knew that those
sites, those particular establishments with known addresses were trafficking and not just prostitution or some sort of sex industry, the mayor said let's look at everything we have available. and we can close them down under the city's laws. >> dr. johnson ojo, a nigerian doctor, and san francisco health inspector ed walsh form the backbone of the mayor's effort against sex trafficking. for the last three years they have led a team of city officials on a full frontal assault on massage parlors. the message is loud and clear, san francisco will not tolerate slavery. >> we're going to have the fire department, fire inspector, the building inspector and the city planner. we're going to have a combination of two police officers from the san francisco police vice squad which will provide us security to get into the facility. >> is the manager here? >> within minutes, inspector
walsh discovers a false wall and a hidden room with four-foot ceilings. >> this light must come on somehow. it's a living quarters. are you okay, johnson? >> so, johnson, what is this? >> this is illegal living quarters, unapproved room. >> how many people do you think live back here? >> i would say about four or five of them. there's another bed. >> where? >> sofa out there. you see personal belongings like excessive shoes and suitcases and excessive makeup. those are indicative that individuals are living there. >> do you have a permit? >> from who? >> from the health department. >> dr. ojo discovers some of the women don't have the permit the city now requires to provide massage and they want answers about that hidden room. >> who's sleeping in the back? >> the washing machine? >> who's sleeping in the back? the back has beds?
>> yeah, behind the washing machines there are some beds in there. >> we never go to the back, never go to the back side because we only work here and work the upstairs. that's it. >> where the machines are, the laundry machines? >> yeah, the laundry machine. we go to the laundry machines. we never knew the back side had beds. >> who goes in there? >> just the boss goes in there. >> oh. does the boss live here or -- >> i don't think so. i don't know. >> you don't sleep back there? >> no, i don't sleep there. >> but there are beds with people's stuff there. >> maybe for a rest or to take a nap. >> health inspector walsh says hidden rooms with beds have been discovered in numerous parlors along with other telltale signs that indicate trafficked women. >> there's a lot of food in the refrigerator, you know, like there to feed like 10, 15 people over say like a month period of time. there are a lot of signs, a lot lingerie, thongs, g-strings. >> after 20 years on the job,
massage parlor owners suspected of using trafficked girls have a tough job sweet-talking inspector ed walsh. >> hi. >> hi. >> health department. massage? >> no. >> no massage? how come you have the sign still? >> time and time again, he encounters the pain and suffering of trafficked women firsthand and has little patience for those who prey on the vulnerable. >> this is a massage establishment operating without a health permit. two months ago, we closed it down and now they've re-opened. >> but she says they're not. >> well, there's all the signs. they have two massage tables. the rooms are set up with oil and kleenex, cleaning towels to dry their hands. >> if the next time he comes back and he discovers that you still have the tables and your sign, they're going to -- >> obviously they're doing massage. >> also, they're on the internet, too.
as having clients go here within the last two weeks. >> the women freed in the federal raid testified that they never left the massage parlors. double locked gates and elaborate security cameras monitoring their every move and conversation. walsh says there's no reason a legitimate massage establishment needs that kind of security. >> you're going to see these facilities that are built like ft. knox. you'll have like double iron gates, a buzzer to get in. there's cameras also throughout the facility, usually a hidden camera at the point of sale where the john goes and pays his $60. there will be cameras up and down the hallway, cameras at the back door. >> the last stop for the task force is a parlor on the brink of being shut down for repeatedly violating city laws and where the fbi recently searched but didn't find a woman who called claiming she was being held captive. the massage parlor denies employing trafficked women. >> come on out, health department. have a seat.
>> have a seat. >> we'll be right back. >> who is the manager? >> a new city law requires massage therapists to keep their body covered from the neck down. when the women see police, they immediately run to don lab coats to avoid being cited. >> when i first went in there, there were plenty of girls with johns, at least three. we got them out of the rooms and they were scantily clothed. they had very little on. they weren't professional masseuses. it's obvious. >> all women there were dressed in inappropriate attire, very provocative. high-heeled shoes. they were showing a lot of their assets, so to speak. >> on this visit, inspectors find that the owners have removed the ten beds they found in a secret crawl space on their last inspection. >> that's where they were sleeping previously.
>> i'm sorry. >> the task force says it's not much, but at least it's one small signal that while they can't completely eradicate trafficking, they are having some kind of impact. >> i'm trying to get in. let's go, let's go. >> this is happening because men are engaging in this illegal activity. ♪ and i'll never desert you ♪ i'll stand by you yeah! yeah. so, that's our loyalty program. you're automatically enrolled. and the longer you stay, the more rewards you get. great. oh! ♪ i'll stand by you ♪ won't let nobody hurt you isn't there a simpler way to explain the loyalty program? yes. standing by you from day one. now, that's progressive. i'm reworking the menu. mayo, corn dogs... you are so out of here! ahh... the complete balanced nutrition of great tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein... and 26 vitamins and minerals. ensure. take life in.
of the most exclusive retail stores in downtown san francisco, inspectors wait for the team to assemble before returning for a third surprise inspection of ceo health club, which brazenly advertises its sexual services online. >> the internet is -- one of the johns went on there and said they had a good time at this location. >> inspectors must be careful not to tip off the business so officers hang back around the corner while their decoy gains access by posing as a john. >> the whole idea is once joe gets up there, he's going to come up the back stairs. >> just like most of the
previous businesses, an elaborate network of hidden cameras surveils the streets. >> the owner has put a camera right above the point of sale. >> officers say it's a way for owners to monitor the women who work for them and warn them about police. >> i'm trying to get in, let's go, let's go. >> when the decoy gets buzzed in, he holds the door and investigators move in. >> ceo health club. >> dr. ojo and inspector walsh say ceo health club with its gold-mirrored elevator and high-priced real estate is one of the city's most profitable parlors. >> for ceos. >> thank you. >> inside the club, it's pandemonium as girls hustle out of rooms and shocked clients hide in their rooms. >> masseuse here? >> inspectors bang on the doors notifying the johns that they have been caught in a city health inspection. >> how many girls do have you here tonight? >> right now have i seven. >> the manager tries to stall ed from entering one of the rooms. just months going, ceo was fined for having six women wearing
lingerie and clear heels and for employing an unlicensed masseuse. >> she was crying because she didn't want to be there. her father was sick. she comes from korea. and the only reason she's here is because her father's sick, and she's trying to make money, and she doesn't want to do this. my lot in life was to be a piano teacher. >> that woman has disappeared. the owner denies anyone has been trafficked. officers catch five girls and three johns having sex. there are six rooms with tables that don't have the normal accoutrements of a legitimate massage. >> you call this a massage establishment? >> the girls quickly throw on their white lab coats to hide skimpy attire. they wait nervously while officers inspect the premises. confused clients make quick exits or hide in the hallways. walsh says it's a game of cat and mouse where everyone understands that sex is for sale. he grills a girl he found half naked. >> do you have a massage diploma? >> no.
first day, i go to chinese escort. >> okay, you need to -- do you want to work here? you need to go to massage school. you cannot do massage without a permit. okay? >> employee lounge where i was sitting with all the girls, i stuck my head in there and she was putting on her shirt, the lady that was in the -- that claimed she was there for an interview. i asked the owner, is that normally how you interview them, without their clothes on? and she said no. >> the owners barely hide the notion of sex for sale. this sign displayed above the reception area warms customers about mixing drugs and alcohol with sex. >> how many cameras do you have? >> here four and here four. >> so eight cameras? >> yeah. >> business is booming as clients anxiously wait to get in. but the owner hesitates to let them in. can you come back later? i have inspection here. >> this client is undeterred and
insists on coming up. it's only when he sees the police officers that he makes a hasty exit. as he goes down, another client comes up. >> i have a 7:30 appointment. >> he pushes past officers until he finally realizes the gravity of the situation. officers admit that these surprise inspections won't stop women from being forced into prostitution, but at least it keeps owners on their toes. >> i cannot change this. >> so, this time, $5,000? >> that's right. talk to the hearing officer. give him your side of the story. >> i want to show you -- >> i walked in and saw her, she's putting her shirt on. >> but like me, i put on my clothes. i have jacket here. now watch. i have jacket here. you tell me things are -- >> i told you don't bring anybody here without permits. i told you that. >> i always listen. >> i've been telling you that for two years. i know. i've been telling you that for
two years. then i come here and you've got girls without permits. i can't -- i can't have any sympathy for that. can you sign here, please? >> i don't like that. >> well, bring the paper to the hearing and let the judge look at the tape. that's all i can say. >> $5,000. >> this is happening because men are engaging in this illegal activity. >> we have to start thinking, you know, in a very different way about who we see and who we blame. >> norma hataling runs sage, an international organization that helps women who are forced into prostitution. she says the only way to impact this global epidemic is to attack the demand, the men who spend thousands for sex-to-go. >> they could understand that the people that they are buying are there not of their own free will, and that behind the smile that they pay for is an incredible amount of pain and
fear and terror. traffickers will do whatever they need to do in order to ensnare a girl. >> once a month you will find norma hataling lecturing first-time offenders. johns arrested by police in sting operations for soliciting prostitutes. >> they don't think about the fact that they can't tell if a woman is trafficked. they can't even tell if the person that they're having sex with is a kid. >> this john was so moved by the stories of trafficked women, he agreed to be interviewed. >> it really tears me up inside. it's like that could be my daughter. my kids. >> people need to just get their heads out of the sand of the whole idealism of prostitution and the sex trade and get over it. >> the city of san francisco promises to close businesses suspected of trafficking women. but forced sexual slavery is a
growing multi-billion dollar industry, and the justice department says it shows no signs of abating. i'm meredith vieira. thanks for watching. on the streets of chicago and all across america, the business of sex for sale is booming. fueled by the internet. >> this is not a problem that just happens in another country. >> we have girls coming from texas, coming from minnesota, girls coming from iowa. >> what am i going to be under arrest for? >> prostitution. >> in a world where girls and young women take all the risk, traffickers kee