tv Sex Slaves Texas MSNBC March 25, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
i had big dreams. >> they are teenage girls who came to texas with big hopes. >> translator: i dreamed of buying a house for my mom. >> but dreams of supporting loved ones back home became a nightmare of being trapped in a life of daily rape and beatings. >> you have people's daughters being raped basically in bars under threat of force. >> fueled by a booming sex industry. buying girls in texas has never been easier. >> houston is a hub. >> we have a female en route
now. >> what's your name? >> jacqueline. >> the cantina industry's dirty little secret about the hidden lives of those selling bar girls. >> the greed that drives this is the sex, slavery. it's what we call modern-day slavery. >> 600, 700, 800. >> and the thousands of families back home who miss them. >> translator: i remember she left on the 14 of january. >> and the tragic price girls pay for trying to improve their lives. >> he said, i'm going to teach you how to be a woman and he started taking off all of my clothes. >> msnbc goes undercover and investigates "sex slaves texas." by day, houston, america's fourth largest city, radiates the wealth of the oil tycoons
who built it. but, by night, this interstate is ground zero for one of the darkest industries of the american underground economy, modern day sex slavery. behind the doors of the spas, massage parlors, and cantinas teenage girls and young women sell themselves for cold cash. from high-end escort girls online to back alley mattresses behind a cantina, those who fight human trafficking say foreign and homegrown american girls commit these sex acts oftentimes against their will. theirs is a story that must be told. it's 10:00 a.m. in overcast houston, texas, and it seems like just another sleepy saturday morning at this airport hotel. but behind closed doors in room 106 investigators of harris county's human trafficking task force are laying a trap.
>> what we're doing basically is just trying to hook up our camera equipment inside the room here and make sure we've got a clear shot. >> the camera is focused on this bed right here so this area, if you sit down, that's the best shot right there. >> undercover investigators set up their surveillance cameras and equipment. their target -- prostitutes, their pimps and the men who exploit them. >> we're looking at underage mainly. what i did is target the 18 to 20, 21-year-olds. >> investigators troll the online ads which read like a takeout menu for those with specific fetishes and fantasies. >> big, beautiful women, slutty, sexy and petite. want to have a freaky friday? pregnant females. that's a fetish for some guys.
>> bruce carr runs a federally funded sex trafficking task force for harris county. he says it's an uphill battle where men exploit any young girl they can control. >> and it's very sad because those particular girls, a lot of times, are picked up on low self-esteem and what have you and tricked into it by these pimps, and they fall for it. next thing they know, they're wrapped into a situation they can't get out of. >> the task force regularly runs sting operations like this one to gather information from cooperating witnesses so they can painstakingly build cases one pimp at a time. >> it's tommy. i was looking to spend more time for you. >> today officers posing as johns call girls to make dates at the hotel. >> hey, girl! you free today? >> hoping to take down the men who traffic them. >> well, come on. i'm in room 106. >> investigators in unmarked cars outside notify the team that their mark has arrived. >> we've got a female en route
now. her arrival could be at any time. >> the undercover posing as the john greets the girl in room 106 as uniformed officers next door watch a monitor and wait for the "go" sign. as soon as this girl takes $100 for oral sex, the officers move in. >> got anything in your pockets? >> i'm not sure. >> do you have any identification? >> yeah. it's in my purse. >> the first girl claims she's an adult and she's not the underage girl in the ad. >> who's in that photo? >> i don't know. >> that's not you? >> no. >> why you use that name? >> because everybody does that. >> the girl also claims to work on her own even though officers outside have already arrested her pimp. >> we took him down. he had some marijuana and some other narcotic and a lot of cash money on him. >> officers hustle the girl out
the back as the team quickly resets. >> i'm hoping this will show up in about seven minutes, which is 2:00. >> 2:00 be here in five minutes? >> yeah. >> 2:00. >> the team gets another heads-up. girl two has been spotted. >> i see her. just driving through the parking lot. >> here she comes. >> she said, hey, i'm serious. i'm all about business. let's get down to it. i'm here to do x, y and z. you know, he couldn't pay her the money fast enough and then we took her down. >> got anything in your purse we need to know about? >> when officers search her purse, they make a surprising find. they discover a taser. >> the illegal weapon serves as a stark reminder of the great personal risk women take each time they sell themselves. >> last arrest was in '07 for
prostitution. >> officers now switch positions as they wait for the last girl to show. >> looks promising. she's supposed to be coming back up here within about five minutes. >> a gold truck with three men pulls up next to our camera and dumps a blonde woman out of a truck. >> the truck pulled directly beside us and we're scrambling to hide our cameras and everything. and both doors open up and it looked like they were trying to push her out of the truck. easy with that camera. >> going to the room. >> see, the girl is coming up. >> once inside room 106, the girl gives the undercover officer the third degree. she suspects he's a cop and she's not taking any chances. satisfied she removes her had shirt, not realizing officers are about to move in. >> come here. >> i know. >> what's your name?
>> jacqueline. >> i just had a baby. >> distraught, the young girl who has a newborn baby at home pleads with officers to let her make a phone call. >> can i just call my babysitter please? are you serious? >> no. >> oh, my god. >> it's dispirited scenes like these that anger carr. >> it's an unfortunate way of life. it's sad for that girl and her baby. nobody should have to be put through that at all. >> i knew not to come. something told me y'all were the police. i was at the strip club. should have stayed at work. >> carr realized these women are being used by the men who risk little and cash in big. as officers interview jacqueline, patrol cars and officers are in hot pursuit of the gold chevy and the men who delivered her had. >> it's a bright gold-colored chevrolet, extra cab. >> somebody copy a tag.
>> 150 [ bleep ]. >> they've got units out there with them right now. >> the chevy is stopped at a gas station. officers surround the unsuspecting men as they go in to buy sodas. >> popcorn pimps? is that what they call them? wannabe pimps? the men who the police called popcorn pimps were amateurs but smart enough to play stupid for the cops. >> what's going on today? >> i have no idea. >> what about the girl that got out of your truck? >> she's my friend. >> what's up with her? >> she's just a friend. right now she's staying with a friend, just had a baby. >> what's she doing right now? like what do you mean? >> where's she at? >> we just dropped her off. >> to do what? >> i have no idea.
just dropping her off. >> she's your friend, just dropped her off in this middle of the neighborhood. >> she asked for a ride. >> you have no idea what she was doing? >> no. i just know her name is cream. she told me, drop her off. >> you know it's against the law to transport people doing prostitution. >> prostitution? >> yeah. you don't know anything about that either? >> no, sir. >> inside the vehicle, police find more evidence that this crew of wannabes is hoping to graduate to the big leagues of pimpdom, including a pair of high heel shoes and a book on tape called pimpology. carr would like to arrest all three of the men, but his hands are tied. >> in county, we have to have a hand-to-hand transaction between us and the pimp or seeing that transaction between the girl, us and the girl and the pimp. and we didn't catch up on that. catch you over like this again, you're going to jail, you know
that? >> who, me? >> you're the only person i'm talking to, man. >> y'all do your business and hit the road. >> all right. thank you. >> we'll meet back up over there. >> at the end of the day, the task force has made nine arrests and gathered more information on the burgeoning illegal sex trade in houston. the women arrested are simply booked and then released. they're not what the police are really after. today's events just show how difficult it can be for police and prosecutors to combat the ever widening world of human trafficking, a world that increasingly is bringing in and enslaving girls from foreign countries, particularly latin america. [ male announcer ] fighting pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath? fight both fast with new tums freshers! concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers.
♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack. [ woman speaking indistinctly over radio ] home protector plus from liberty mutual insurance... [ alarm blaring ] where the cost to repair your home, replace what's inside, and stay somewhere else if you need to are covered. because you never know what lies around the corner. to learn more, visit libertymutual.com today.
the sleep number bed. the magic of this bed is that you're sleeping on something that conforms to your individual shape. wow! that feels really good. it's hugging my body. in less than a minute i can get more support. if you change your mind once you get home you can adjust it. so whatever you feel like, the sleep number bed's going to provide it for you. at our semi-annual sleep sale, save $400 to $700 on our most popular bed sets. sale ends march 31st. only at the sleep number store, where queen mattresses start at just $699. the largest class size in the nation. 47th out of 50 in per-student funding.
but right now, we can make history with a ballot measure to send every k-through-12 dollar straight to our schools. to every school and every child. not to sacramento. it's the only initiative that can say all that. check out our online calculator and find out how your school would benefit. visit ourchildrenourfuture2012.com today.
>> with nearly a third of the country's illegally trafficked people coming through how's, young women and girls make up the largest percent. >> we abolished slavery, but it's worst than you would suspect. >> traffickers lure hundreds of girls south of the border and force them to become prostitutes in cantinas. >> they're being raped under threat of force. >> i was put in a room and a man came in, i told him i was not a prostitute, and he said they all do the same thing. he forced himself on me. >> more often than not, the story behind sex slavery begins
in a small latin american village with young girls and big dreams. that was true for a woman that goes by the name of wendi. she was recruited by awellaying u.s. . they said they wanted to help poor people. >> in january 2003, wendy and her friends, 16-year-old sue and 14-year-old ana were eating lunch at their school in a remote village in honduras. they were approached by two well-dressed businessmen. to wendy and her had friends, being recruited was like winning the lottery. >> translator: at that moment, i became very happy. i thought, now i can help my family, my mother who has worked so hard for me her whole life. >> to appreciate why girls would blindly trust the promise of
strangers, one needs only to consider the extreme poverty of this village. most families like wendy's live in one-room shacks with no plumbing or running water. wendy's mother andrea, like most in her remote village, labors on a pineapple plantation owned by a u.s. company. her daily take for a 12-hour shift, about $5 a day. >> translator: here is a photo of my daughter wendy when she was just 14 years old. >> translator: my mom always said she would never be late to work if she could only buy a car. and i told her, well, then i'm going to buy you one. she would laugh and say, you? where are you going to get the money for that? i would tell her, well, mom, you just wait and see. >> wendy's mother tried to talk wendy out of going to the u.s. but failed. it was january 9, 2003.
>> translator: she just said to me, mommy, we're going to try our luck. so they hit the road, and that was when they disappeared and we didn't hear from her again. >> the girls were taken north, traveling dozens of hours through the central american mountains. finally, the recruiters dropped the girls at a house in mexico and vanished. they awoke to strange men giving harsh orders. >> translator: i fell asleep there along with my friends. when we woke up, the men had arrived with clothes, but clothes i had never used in my life. it was inappropriate, cut way too short. and i said, i'm not going to wear these clothes. it doesn't matter what you say, the man said. here it only matters what i say. >> wendy says she realized at that moment there would be no factory job. the horror started the next morning. they began with ana. >> translator: they grabbed my youngest friend and began having their way with her.
afterwards they did the same to my other friend. then an older man, who was about 65 years old, started with me. he said he was going to show me how to be a woman. but i don't know what that means, i said. so i'm going to show you, he said, and he took off all my clothes and began raping me. >> from that day forward, wendy says she was raped, tortured and moved from brothel to brothel, often working alongside 15 other enslaved girls, each servicing six to seven men a night. month after month, year after year, wendy was moved from brothels in mexico and eventually in 2005 to cantinas across the border in texas.
we's worth of energy, right here. [announcer:] who's right? they all are. visit powerincooperation.com. over time, my lashes thinned. after 40, i didn't have enough lashes. i'd heard of latisse® but had questions. my doctor said... latisse® is the only fda approved prescription treatment for inadequate or not enough lashes. now with latisse® my lashes are longer, darker, with more than double the fullness in 16 weeks. if you are using or have used, prescription products for eye pressure problems, use latisse® under close doctor care. latisse® use may cause increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye which is likely permanent. eyelid skin darkening may occur which may be reversible. if you experience eye problems or have eye surgery, consult your doctor. common side effects include itchy eyes and eye redness.
in 2003, wendy left her home in honduras with dreams of a job in the u.s., but instead she found herself under the control of a brutal pimp who forced her to sell sex in one of houston's notorious cantinas. >> translator: he said, do you know what happens here? no, i told him. well, you're about to find out. >> it's inhumane. it's slavery, what we call modern-day slavery. >> according to government statistics, next to drugs, the buying and selling of humans has become the second largest criminal industry in the world. >> they often promise them legitimate jobs, either cleaning jobs or simply being bartenders or serving drinks or working in a restaurant. and suddenly when they arrive they begin to realize that they're trapped. >> where do the women who are
enslaved in houston's cantinas come from? msnbc reversed the journey many of these women take. we traveled to honduras, one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. here much of the population lives in poverty. like many third world countries, honduras struggles with equality. >> this is a map of our country honduras. these points represent routes tracing the path of drugs and human beings through the country. julian hernandez heads a police force with the mission of stopping the heavy flow of drugs and people moved through route through the united states. >> translator: sexual exploitation is a widespread problem. women have become a global commodity, just like toyota cars
>> and mcdonald's hamburgers. >> honor duran officials are not surprised hundreds of young women from honduras end up enslaved. the department of justice say central american women account for more than 70% of all sex trafficking cases in the united states. >> this woman and her husband marcos live among the poor on the outskirts of the honduran capital. their oldest daughter has recently gone missing.
>> marcos fears that his daughter, who is mentally challenged, has been deceived and abducted by traffickers. >> translator: there are so many child abduction networks we can't be sure if she's even still here or if she's in another country. >> the fate of ritza is still unknown. but manuel who runs two shelters for abused and exploited children knows that many of the missing end up in the global sex
trade. >> over the past eight years, he has heard story after story of young children and teenagers being sexually exploited and trafficked. the lucky few who are rescued are brought here where they receive therapy, meals and medical care. >> translator: we conducted an investigation in 20 major honduran cities to determine if the phenomenon of commercial sexual abuse was really as big as it seemed. as a result, we detected nearly 10,000 children that had been sexually exploited in massage parlors, hotels and motels. we also met children who were taken suddenly who had been deceived by stories that they would be given a job in the united states. or even canada. >> that's exactly what happened to wendy and her two friends who were eager to leave the poverty of their village. 16-year-old sue and 14-year-old ana, this is ana's father.
>> translator: she left on the 14 of january. to this day, i remember it was a saturday at 3:00. she left and never came back. >> for ana's father, it's been six long years of heartbreak. his headstrong 14-year-old daughter with big dreams has never been seen or heard from since that fateful day. >> translator: she told us, papa, mama, i'm leaving. i want to go. just give me your blessing rather than trying to stop me. if i make it, i'll help you. have faith. >> federal prosecutor ed gallagher says a single woman can bring in thousands of dollars per night for the cantinas. yet of the hundreds of trafficking victims he's encountered, he can't remember one who's ever kept the money. >> the greed that drives this is the sex, the prostitution, is
the number of tricks they can perform on a daily basis, putting the money earned into the pockets of those who are exploiting them. that's human trafficking. >> during her six years in captivity in mexico, wendy worked with schoolgirls from el salvador, guatemala and honduras. >> translator: almost all of them were 14, 15, 16 years old. all of them told me the same thing, that they had been tricked. >> wendy says that the traffickers ruled by daily beatings and terror, running was not an option. >> translator: one day i hadn't wanted to be with a client so i was drugged. the next day when i woke up, i wasn't able to get out of bed because of the beating. but the physical pain is nothing compared to what it does to your mind. >> wendy became compliant and reliable and for three years worked to earn the trust of the men who kept her. little by little, they allowed
wendy to make short runs to the store and leave the cantina. one day she was given $2,000 and put into a cab to buy new clothes for the girls who had just arrived. down, he said. i want you back here at 3:00 in the afternoon. >> wendy had a rare chance to escape. >> translator: from the moment i got in the taxi, i started thinking, this is the only moment i've got, my last opportunity. and right there i decided, i'm going, going, going. >> the taxi driver dropped her at a supermarket and instead of going inside, wendy seized the moment and ran. she ran until she reached a neighborhood where a woman let her into her home. the first thing wendy did was call her mother. >> translator: at that moment, i felt like a bird being let out of its cage, free, happy. >> despite her six-year-long
nightmare, wendy says she's lucky. since being separated during that first two weeks of captivity in 2003, wendy has not seen either of her teenage friends. >> translator: when i spoke to my mother, i asked her if they had received any news of my two friends. she told me that sue's mother had died without ever having heard from her daughter. no one knows the fate of ana either. her parents are still in honduras hoping she'll appear one day. >> translator: it's hard, i'll tell you honestly. whenever i see a young girl, i'm reminded of my daughter. it's difficult. it's hard. >> i've seen people treat livestock better than these people treat their girls. >> translator: he took me over to some clients who were
drinking and said, look, fresh meat from el salvador. so you don't get gas. and if you don't get gas, maybe you don't need these. take beano before and there'll be no gas. e you don't need these. [ whooping ] ♪ it was the best day ♪ it was the best day ♪ ♪ it was the best day ♪ 'cause of you we make a great pair. huh? progressive and the great outdoors! we make a great pair. right, totally. that's what i was thinking. all kinds of vehicles, all kinds of savings. multi-policy discounts from progressive. call or click today.
here is what is happening, a 7.2 earthquake his central chiel hit tonight. and president obama said shrinking the nuclear stockpile will be a priority. the president also told north korea their pursuit of nuclear weapons has only made their more isolated. now back to "msnbc undercover". >> look closely at the outskirts of how's, and you will find many unasoup lg bars called catinas.
they offer a little more than loud music and cold beer. those that know will tell you that behind this facade is little rooms with girls forced to be sex slaves. >> why would a bar need beds? >> >> this man heads the texas agency that that investigates bars and cantinas expected of criminal activity. the texas alcohol and beverage commission. five years ago, tabc inspectors stumbled on the evil secret behind the boom in what is called the cantina business. >> this is not a normal place that the girls get together to have a few drinks. you know, an applebee's or something after work. and with that many women there, there is a telltale sign something is not quite right. >> the tabc may be one of the most unlikely government groups to battle human traffickers but
arguably one of the most determined and best at it. will just three full-time investigators, they have a lot of information on how the black market works in the lone star state. >> that's typical of one of the bedrooms. >> when you see the kind of conditions these girls live in, it makes it worse. i've seen people treat livestock better than these people treat girls. >> barnett says it works like this. a patron chooses a bar girl and buys her what is known as a pony beer, a very expensive beer which gives him the right to touch her anywhere on her body. >> you can pay as much as $25 for a beer for her and she will sit at your table and talk to you while she's drinking her beer. >> and what if the man decides he wants more? >> and then if you want to have sex, you would pick one out, they'll send you to the back of
the bar. there's another lady back there or a guy that will take your money for you. $50 was for the sex act and $2 and some change was for a condom, some spermicide lubricant and couple of paper towels to wipe up with, i guess. that's how disgusting it was. >> here in houston. >> advocate jose says every day for the last six years trafficked women and young children come desperately seeking help after being horribly exploited. >> they're sleeping all day and working in the night. and they never saw the money. >> jose says bar owners give the girls a quota, forcing them to sleep with nine or ten men a night, charging anywhere from $60 to $100 for an hour of sex. cantina owners make thousands. >> this kind of business move a lot of money. >> how far-reaching is the business of sex slavery? in 2005, tabc participated in
one of the biggest sex slavery busts texas had ever seen. federal authorities targeted cantinas run by organized crime figures, the brothers victor and oscar. over 100 women were freed from houston caas one of them was maria, a single mother who left a successful bakery business in el salvador, hoping to make more money to support her family. >> translator: he took me over to some clients who were drinking and said, look, fresh meat from el salvador. he pushed me between the legs of the men and told them, here, you can do whatever you want with her. the man grabbed me and put his hands on me and i said, get off of me. >> she says the constant threat of violence was used to keep her in line. >> translator: i said, walter, i don't like this work. i'm going to leave.
he said, you can't leave here. and i said, why? if i'm going to pay you what i owe you? just see what happens if you try to leave, he said. i'll go after your family. >> we actually found evidence that they had intelligence files on these girls where they had their mother and father's address and pictures of them. >> after studying the various criminal empires that run cantinas, barnett believes that the threat made by traffickers are far from empty. >> what would you do if they told you they're going to go kill your mother and father and sister if you spoke to the police? >> escaping from a cantina is simply not an option. these pictures show exactly how cantina owners control their human merchandise. surveillance cameras, secret passages ways, hidden rooms. they're more prisons than bar rooms. >> some of the ones we've talked to have more scar tissue on their face than a boxer does. >> before being rescued, maria
witnessed daily beatings and a forced abortion right in the cantina. terrified, the women would refer to oscar as the devil. >> i think the average american citizen would be shocked to see one girl treated like this, much less the number we have here in houston. >> authorities say it's easy to mistake victims like maria for a voluntary prostitute because if the girls don't put on a good >> translator: around 9:00 or 10:00 at night so i could start working, i'd have to drink five or six beers so that i wouldn't feel what i was living. so that i could escape. >> houston is a hub. >> go in that room right there. >> you're under arrest for prostitution. do you understand what i'm saying? >> 500, 600, 700, 800.
when bp made a commitment to the gulf, we knew it would take time, but we were determined to see it through. today, while our work continues, i want to update you on the progress: bp has set aside 20 billion dollars to fund economic and environmental recovery. we're paying for all spill- related clean-up costs. and we've established a 500 million dollar fund so independent scientists can study the gulf's wildlife and environment for ten years. thousands of environmental samples from across the gulf have been analyzed by independent labs under the direction of the us coast guard. i'm glad to report all beaches and waters are open for everyone to enjoy. and the economy is showing progress with many areas on the gulf coast having their best tourism seasons in years. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp.
from taxis to trains, airfare to hotels and dining at all kinds of restaurants, from fast food to fine dining. and that's not all you get... you'll always reach a person, not a prompt, whenever you call. and absolutely no foreign transaction fees. does your card do all that? apply today and earn 40,000 ultimate rewards bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. that's good for $500 toward travel when booked through ultimate rewards. so why settle for gold when you can have so much more? chase sapphire preferred is a card of a different color. call the number on your screen or visit our website to apply. fight both fast with new tums freshers! concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack.
it's 11:30 p.m. while most of houston sleeps, our team gets ready for an investigation into the underbelly of sex trafficking in houston. jose agrees to give us a driving tour so we can see firsthand how these illegal cantinas operate. >> this is the poor neighborhood. always in poor neighborhoods. >> when night falls and workers end their shifts, the main boulevard of houston's north side comes alive. men seeking relief after a hard day in the field or factories find solace in dimly lit cantinas where jose says there is no shortage of booze or sex for sale. >> what we are talking about here is it's late. they don't want to do whatever they do. somebody force them to do it because they say, you not do what i say, i going to kill your family in honduras or el salvador or mexico.
>> on each of the main streets of houston, the cantina business starts booming around 10:00 p.m. >> let me go to here. >> and can sometimes stretch until dawn. >> see this one right here? they open until 5:00 in the morning. they have rooms here in back. look at this. >> along one of these strips jose brings us to what seems like an abandoned building. >> see that in front? >> there are no signs indicating a business, no music, and it is completely dark. >> you see how many cars? you don't see no lights, right? >> jose warns us to be discreet with our filming. >> it's very dangerous, this place. they have more than 60 women in there, from 14 up. >> months earlier on our initial investigation of cantinas, an armed guard chased our crews away waving his gun. >> you guys coming? >> we learned firsthand just how far they will go to guard their captives, which turn thousands
of dollars each night. cantina security serves a dual purpose. it keeps unwanted parties out and the girls inside. >> jose says he's frustrated that cantinas in houston continue to exploit women and children every day. >> how can they have women to do sex every single day 24 hour a day and police, they don't know it? i don't know! i know, many people know. >> on our second pass of the unlit cantina on little york, we're surprised to find the dirt lot filled with cars. >> now you see how many car really. look. >> fighting traffickers in
houston is an uphill battle for both federal and state agencies who run joint sting operations with a common goal -- gather intel on the criminals profiting from the exploitation of women and shut them down. >> houston is a hub. >> you're under arrest for prostitution. do you understand what i'm saying? >> you know, you have everything from the illegals being forced into it and our u.s. citizens being forced into it. >> go in that room right there. >> from foreign girls to young american teens sold on the internet, the streets and massage parlors, law enforcement officials admit limited resources and complex laws make it tough to make a dent in the burgeoning empire of sex slavery. >> she travels a lot. >> everybody has pimps, everybody is making money off it. >> 500, 600, 700, 800. >> and these girls are being victimized over and over and over.
>> we're behind the bar now in the passageway that goes back to the prostitution area. here's one of the rooms we catch them in all the time. it's pretty filthy. hey, there's an example of what they do here all the time. right down there. we see this all over the place. with these 4g lte tablets, you can do business at lightning-fast speeds. we'll take all the strawberries, dave. you got it, kid. we have a winner. we're definitely gonna need another one. small businesses that want to grow use 4g lte technology from verizon. i wonder how she does it. that's why she's the boss. because the small business with the best technology rules. contact the verizon center for customers with disabilities at 1-800-974-6006.
to hopefully free some of the women trapped in cantinas, investigators from the tabc and houston police department make a surprise inspection of one of the city's most notorious cantinas. la concinita nightclub. it's the same place where investigators rescued a girl from traffickers just two weeks earlier. >> here's a good picture of the actual location where they do the prostitution in this place. >> texas state investigator mike barnett has been inside the cantina before and seen firsthand the honeycomb nest of dirty rooms used for prostitution. >> behind the bar is a compound
where there's a house they use for prostitution and behind that house is another barn, where there's even more prostitution rooms hidden in the back. the smell in the room is kind of disgusting and sometimes your feet stick to the floor when you're walking across it. >> it's a little after 3:00 p.m. when the task force descends and quickly secures the perimeter. inside, investigators find more than a dozen women lined up against the wall like merchandise on display for a handful of male patrons. >> i'm not in charge. ask one of the uniformed officers. i don't know. >> what do you think it's about? >> i don't know, i come to drink beer, to relax. >> sh-hhh. >> investigators take our
cameras behind the scenes for an exclusive look inside the bowels of a modern day brothel. >> we're behind the bar now in the little passageway that goes back to the prostitution area. here's one of the rooms we catch them in all the time. it's pretty filthy. there's the tools of the trade. napkins, paper towels and toilet paper. here's one of their little escape doors. last time we were here this was covered with that corrugated aluminum so it wouldn't look like a door. it just pops open. >> barnett takes us through an escape hatch leading to railroad tracks behind the cantina. >> hey, there's an example of what they do here all the time right down here. you see this all over the place. if you come down this way, this next building on the left is a large house set up like a prostitution house. it's probably eight rooms in it. here's the rest of it. >> in all, this sprawling
ramshackle complex contains five makeshift rooms for sex. >> if you'll notice, there's no support on the tin. >> all concealed behind a wall to keep unwanted visitors out and girls in. >> so you can't really climb over it. you'll cut yourself. >> while investigators inspect the area behind the cantina, they see a pair of women running down the railroad tracks. >> if you'll notice, some of the girls took off running down the railroad tracks. we don't even know why they're running. they just don't want anything to do with the police. if you're wondering why we didn't chase them, they didn't do anything wrong. they're just running down the railroad tracks. you see why this is a really time-sensitive matter here, because the women are going to die. they're going to get killed. if they don't get killed physically, they're going to die from aids or whatever. >> the problem is getting to the victims and getting them to understand that we're here to help them. >> harris county attorney linda geffen gets a firsthand look at the girls who work at the cantina. she's trying to make a
connection to encourage one of them to get out of the life. >> you see the ones in there that are prostitutes and the ones that aren't. if you walk up and look at them, they look down like this. they're the ones you need to talk to. >> with the help of jose, geffen zeros in on a couple of the younger girls. this is virginia from mexico. she says she's 25 years old. >> so do you work here? >> she take care of little babies. >> babysitter. >> yeah, babysitter. >> do you work here as a waitress, too? okay. what else do you do for work? >> most of the girls will deny any involvement in prostitution. >> nobody comes into the business, you know.
everybody is talking the same way. >> they're all babysitters. >> but after speaking with a half dozen girls, jose finally contacts one who admits to having sex for money. marguerita is surprisingly up front about her situation. >> she said yes, that she's drinking and sometimes she go out with the men and they pay her $50. okay. >> unfortunately, marguerita is not quite ready to change her life today and all that geffen can do is offer her a business card. but one day, that card may be a lifeline to marguerita or other girls like her seeking to leave the world of prostitution behind. >> most of your viewers need to
realize, if you wake up in a strange country that you're not familiar with, and you don't speak the language, and the person that's keeping you tells you the police are bad, don't trust them, what are you going to do? you have no money, no support system and you've already been threatened. so that's the situation they're looking at. >> there will be no arrests here today but for the tabc, the visit is still a successful one. inspectors uncover numerous electrical and fire code violations like this one, where a series of extension cords snake power to a taco wagon in the parking lot. all in all, today's surprise visit from inspectors will set back the cantina thousands of dollars in fines. it's all part of an ongoing strategy by the tabc to bleed the bad actors financially dry and force them out of the business. >> we're attacking their
financial structure, basically, because we know these people are engaging in prostitution. we have made cases here before. we have rescued a girl that was kidnapped and being forced to be a prostitute here. so we're going to take advantage of every law we have on the books to bring these people into compliance, basically. either that or get them out of business. >> we're not making a human trafficking case but we'll make an organized crime case. we'll make narcotics cases. we work with building inspectors. we even use a dog catcher at times because we found one location that was involved in a cruelty to animals case. basically we'll do anything we can to make sure these bars are out of business.