HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Lawsuit or not, Chicas Locas is still open for business with good reason, according to assistant Harris County Attorney Rosemarie Donnelly.
"The club makes a lot of money," says Donnelly.
But based on the lawsuit, the business is making a lot of that money illegally through prostitution. Undercover Houston Police Department officers ended a sixteen-month-long operation in which they made 42 arrests. Among the people arrested was club manager Jose Galvan. His employees, David Carillo and Ana Roman, were also arrested. According to court documents, the sex would take place in the VIP rooms. The price of admission was $165. Sex itself would cost between $300 and $500. Club employees would often have to translate for the dancers who had been lured to the U.S. from Colombia and Cuba.
"Police tell us they are promised jobs as entertainers, models, actresses," adds Donnelly. "They get here and are forced to work off their debts." Debts of between $5,000 and $10,000.
"It's certainly debatable if they got rid of the debt, but that's a great way to keep them controlled for a very long time,” describes Donnelly.
The lawsuit is the latest battle in a war the Harris County Attorney's Office is fighting against erotic nightclubs that break the law.
"We are going to continue to identify these clubs, call them out," says Celena Vinson with HCAO. "These businesses, if they are massage parlors or strip clubs, and file lawsuits asking the courts to shut them down or hold them accountable."