Monday, September 8, 2008

World's oldest profession continues in Houston

Wow, hidden mirror doors, secret rendezvous, sounds pretty exotic, but its all really prosaic.

Move along nothing to see here.

Cantina sex trade is proving hard to close down
Associated Press -

HOUSTON — A cantina sex trade continues to flourish in Houston despite efforts by officials to shut it down and an indictment of one of its leaders, according to a newspaper investigation.
Human traffickers and prostitution operators remain operating in dimly lit cantinas with secret doors and hidden gates as a result of resilient and lucrative organized crime networks, the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday.

Court documents and interviews with authorities reveal that the cantinas have persisted with a franchise-like ability to persist and prosper. The sex trade continues despite the indictment of Gerardo Salazar, an alleged organizer who called himself “The Rooster.”

Authorities say Salazar ran his operation until he fled to Mexico after being indicted in 2005 by a federal grand jury as a leader of an international human trafficking ring.

Two of Salazar's associates, David Salazar, a U.S. citizen of no relation to Gerardo, and David Salazar's mother, Gregoria Salgado Vazquez, an unauthorized immigrant, now face felony charges of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault of a child in Harris County.
A message left by the Associated Press with attorneys for the two on Sunday was not immediately returned.

Until last year, David Salazar owned one of the bars where Gerardo Salazar allegedly did business, according to court records.

Investigators said women refused to testify against David Salazar or his mother when they tried to shut down the bar in 2005. An undercover police operation showed the mirror in the women's bathroom doubled as a door that led to a fenced backyard where clients from the bar would meet the women and go to an outer building for a paid rendezvous arranged by the bartender, according to records, crime scene photos and interviews with Sgt. Michael Barnett of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

David Salazar is accused of selling a 16-year-old sex slave at the bar, according to court documents.