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  • Writer's pictureDana Parriera, Director of Abolition

Touchdowns and Trafficking

For the last couple of years, advocates have exposed the amount of trafficking that happens at the Super Bowl. Why? Because any large gathering of men away from home, paired with money and power, creates a feeding frenzy for a sexual experience charged with excitement and celebration. This year, there will be no shortage of trafficking victims exploited in the Las Vegas area for the big day.

Since Vegas is already known for brothels, showgirls, and strippers… The number of women who will be exploited in the sex trade for those who attend the Super Bowl is already going to be off the chart! But what we did not expect is the blatant advertising that the winners of the Super Bowl would get free sex at a local brothel. We have to understand that this is only the start of trying to normalize prostitution in our country and culture.

The Chicken Ranch Brothel has become prominent in the news recently for offering free sex to the winners of the Super Bowl (a), as well as free sex for life to a newly recruited Raiders player (b). But what hasn’t been in the news is the lawsuit against that same brothel for trafficking (c).

Suppose you don’t know much about trafficking. In that case, you have to remember that our society desires to paint prostitution as a beautiful way for women to express their sexuality and choose a lifestyle of getting paid for sex. But what they don’t tell you is that women are used, abused, and coerced into this “profession” through a history of sexual abuse. The victims of prostitution that I know, have heard stories about, or interviewed myself seem to always relate to the horrible abuse that has happened to them, including working at a “legal establishment.” Brothels have become their traffickers, and men who visit those places coerce them with money to submit to their sexual abuse.

If you visit the Chicken Ranch Brothel website, you will see pictures of fully nude women with no shame or propriety. (Please allow me to do the research, and don’t expose yourself to these things. Please take my word for it.) You might not notice the angles hiding specific individual attributes with hidden faces. After being on their website for about five minutes, I noticed a lot of things that reminded me of the painful reality of trafficking and how we, as a culture, have allowed this to seep into our society and promote the horrors of what these women have to endure. Thankfully, a recent lawsuit by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation against Chicken Ranch has allowed us to glimpse the reality of this brothel.

They have:

  • High, barbed wire fences and locked gates surround the brothel.

  • The ladies are not allowed to leave, nor even step outside into the locked yard, without asking for permission. 

  • If the ladies leave, they must let the brothel owners know their location and where they are going.

  • The ladies must open their mail and medications in front of the brothel staff.

  • The brothel takes 50% of all income, including forcing the victim to hand over all gifted jewelry to be sold.

  • Ladies are required to follow the brothel’s rules or face fines.

But don’t forget… Living in a brothel is as fixed as a circus ring toss. Increasing costs for food and housing is often a ploy to create such a debt that it forces the individual to stay indefinitely as an indebted slave. Often paired with ridiculous fines, which make the victims continually pay brothel fees so that they are eventually living and working for free, giving an escalating amount to the trafficking brothel. For example, at Chicken Ranch Brothel, when the men enter and are seeking to buy sex, victims must line up to be chosen. The women are fined $500 if they are over three minutes late to the lineup. Let’s say there are 20 visitors a day, and you had to show up for each lineup, but you couldn’t be late no matter what you were in the middle of. How many times a day would you be late and fined? And if they are finding their girls $500 for showing up late, how much do you think they will be fined if they say no to a sex buyer or sex act that would be outside of their boundaries?

The ladies were also forced to wear heels, even if injured. But that’s not even the worst of it. The ladies were made to do 24-hour shifts and could not use the restroom or take a nap without asking for permission (d). That doesn’t sound like freedom, does it? Instead, it sounds more like forced labor paired with sexual exploitation - the very description of sex trafficking.

What is worse is the reality that most traffic victims are missing persons. When I was looking through their site, they posted a blog (from a couple of years ago, on 5/1/2021) with a picture of the girls that were adverted for sex. I took a screenshot of this unedited photo of theirs… And I couldn’t help but notice the blurred-out faces and turned heads as if they were hiding or being hidden(e).

Another thing I’d like to add… Is that in the sex-buying world, victims are often viewed as nothing but meat to be consumed. The terms on the street when buying sex are “white meat” and “dark meat” to describe the color of the girl they desire to consume. (“White meat” for a white-skinned girl and “dark meat” for a darker-skinned girl.) Even the name “Chicken” Ranch Brothel reveals its devaluation of women and the value of their skin color. Racial discrimination is the heartbeat of sex trafficking.

We need to understand that human trafficking and prostitution go hand-in-hand. We need to be aware that advertisements like these, trying to push the boundaries of our sexualized culture and promote prostitution, are not an option for freedom.

Remember that you can’t separate prostitution and trafficking. And you cannot separate sexual abuse and trafficking. I’m not even going to get into the rooms that the Chicken Ranch Brothel promotes… what they call the dungeon. But I am reminded of the trauma and torture that these girls must endure, and often with a smile.

All this information should help us understand that trafficking is more intricate than we might think, but we need to learn and expose the lies of the sex trade, and we need each other for the fight. We can’t look away and pretend this doesn’t exist. Instead, we must look straight at it and understand that it will continue to corrupt our society and eventually affect our children’s future if we don’t stand up for what is right.

So what now? What can we do when brothels are publicly promoting free sex for superstars, and it is spreading on social media like wildfire?

What can we do? We can fight this together in 3 simple steps.

  1. Find an excellent anti-trafficking organization to support and partner with.

  2. Become educated about trafficking. (Take a course or buy a book.)

  3. Pray for the movement. (Because we need your prayers! And so do the victims.)

We also need to remember that this fight against trafficking has only just begun.

Join us.


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