Trailing The Sex Trade In Texas

By Matt Briscoe, Drew Brandt and Wendy Collins

It has been only a few weeks since we began learning that a controversial robot sex brothel wants to open up shop in the Houston area.

“KinkySDolls” has robot sex dolls available to customers at its primary location in Toronto, where customers pay for use of the dolls and a private room. The company says that customers can pay for sessions that range anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours.

The company’s owner says that the dolls are designed to appear as adults and are available for sale to the clients, with prices starting at $2,500.

They also claim that the sex dolls allow consumers to safely act out their wildest sexual fantasies without causing harm to anyone.

But does it really?

Researchers from several major universities claim that pedafiles and those convicted of sexually violent crimes generally began their criminal behavior with simply a fascination about sexual fantasies.

Other research shows that of the thousands of persons incarcerated in federal prison for internet related sex crimes, more than two thirds of them began with watching pornography or acting out sexual fantasy through self gratification.

Texas ranks among the highest in underground human sex operations. With that being said, if there wasn’t a market for the product, there might not be a need for the service.

Lydia Gonzales is a former sex trade worker who now lives in Houston. She was originally brought to San Antonio from her home in Zacatecas, Mexico. She was told by a family friend there that she would be well taken care of and that she would have a steady job with lots of money waiting.

To a 15 year old living in rural Mexico, the opportunity sounded like the chance of a lifetime, so she took him up on it.

Her parents were none the wiser that this family friend had other motives in mind for their daughter. Lydia and her parents were told that she would be working as a waitress in an upper class Mexican restaurant and would receive help in getting legal immigration status.

When Lydia arrived little was as promised.

“We lived in a nice enough house and there were 13 of us there,” Lydia recalls of her initial feelings upon arriving at her new “home” in rural Bexar County. “I just remember that there lots of girls about my age and that there were a few men there.”

On her first night in San Antonio, Lydia recalls being taken to North Star Mall to go shopping for what her handler called “work clothes.”

“They spent maybe $1,000 for me brand new lingerie and sexy clothes and even make up,” Lydia recalls. “I guess it was just what I had imagined America to be.”

Her vision of an American woman was exactly what they had given her–sexy clothing and sexual allure everywhere.

But what happens next is nothing short of criminal.

“I was asked by one of the men there if I had ever had sex and I did not know what exactly to say,” says Lydia. “I just shook my head.”

Later that evening there was a knock on her bedroom door. It was her handler telling her to get dressed as he walked to her closet showing her what to put on.

He drove her downtown to an upscale hotel and conference center where she was told that she was going to “work at.”

“I remember it was some sort of bankers convention for Texas and I was told that I would be keeping a man company for the night,” Lydia says in tears.

When she arrived to the room the encountered a Caucasian man in his mid to late 50s. He was dressed in typical clean white shirt and black slacks, Lydia recalls.

“I remember him telling Armando (Lydia’s handler) that I would do just fine and that he should pick me up no later than 8:00 a.m. the next morning,” Lydia says. “Then Armando tells me just to do whatever the man says.”

That night Lydia realized that she was not going to be working in a restaurant and that she had been lured into the lucrative world of the sex industry.

“He paid for a Hispanic virgin and I fit what he wanted,” says Lydia.

That night Lydia tells of how she was forced to have sex with the man and how he even forced her to pose for nude photos in the shower.

“I was humiliated,” she says.

Lydia would work as a sex worker for 4 years before escaping through a group that helps rescue girls and women caught in this cycle of violence.

Lupe Rodriguez, an advocate for women seeking to escape the sex trade in Texas, says that Lydia’s story is not uncommon.

“We find that banking conferences, real estate conventions, professional trade events and other conferences like that are nothing but a breeding ground for sex exchanges,” Rodriguez says.

She identified Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Dallas to be among the worst cities for such activity to take place.

“$500-$1,500 a night is average depending on what you want,” says Rodriguez who herself once worked in the sex trade in San Antonio.

According to Rodriguez and other advocates, the business of sex in Texas is enormous.

Leroy Anderson was once a prominent banker near San Angelo. He admits that when he would travel to an industry conference, somebody would always know where to find prostitution.

“In banking and finance sex is just par for the course. Women want a man with money to spend and the disposable money is certainly there in this business,” Anderson admits.

At the age of 58, Anderson admits that he has paid for at least 150 women, who he claims were all over the age of 18, for sex.

“My thing was women between 30 and 40 who just needed money, affection and sex,” Anderson admits. “I would find them online like on Craigslist or Plenty of Fish and if I didn’t find her there then somebody in a hotel bar always has a connection,” Anderson says as he explains his method for finding women who would accept money for sex.

“It was easy,” he says. Anderson has been divorced several times and admits that he still pays for sex often, at least twice a week. “It’s cheaper than a wife.”

But Alecia James, who founded an organization to help women escape the sex trade industry says that the problem goes much deeper.

Texas Take followed along with Alecia on a Summer night in 2018 to observe and document the sex industry in Killeen.

“This is a hot bed for activity because of Fort Hood,” says James. “Tonight, we will follow at least half of these men right back to post.”

Within an hour, we observed two men, both wearing United States Army workout t-shirts walking into a room with what appeared to be a woman in her 20s. Some three hours later, the same men returned to their vehicle when we followed them to the main entrance of Fort Hood.

“This is all too common,” says James. She also indicates that despite photographic evidence and license plates being turned over to the Department of Defense, there is never any record of discipline.

In Corpus Christi, home of Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and Corpus Christi Army Depot, the problem is much the same.

On one night this past summer men who had identified themselves as being enlisted in the Navy, were audio recorded in a bar asking for prostitutes of “any age” and then asked another man to arrange for the meeting.

We reached out to the Department of Defense in Washington for comment but the agency did not return any of our calls.

Throughout the state of Texas, the sex trade industry knows no boundaries. Thought it is more prevalent in metropolitan areas, the trade is still a big booming business in rural Texas, as well.

“With the oil and gas boom, we begin to see more and more of the hotel brothels popping up,” says James.

Police maintain that they are doing what they can to track and control the problem, but as long as there is a demand, the sex trade, which seems to be the drug of choice for all walks of life, will continue to flourish in Texas, and it all starts with a fantasy.

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