Times have changed, and not necessarily for the better. Brothels, once kept undercover, have been brought into the limelight. In the 80s, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas made light of rather risqué subject matter. Many can still hum the tune sang by Dolly Parton in the opening, entitled "Nothing Dirty Going On". A popular HBO series, entitled Cathouse, followed goings on at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Vegas. Recently the Sundance Channel ran repeats of the mini-series Pleasure For Sale, which followed the lives of women working at the Chicken Ranch Brothel.
For the young and impressionable watching these programs, working in a brothel seems fun and exciting. They think: how many jobs pay you for having fun?! The answer is not too many. However the carefree image portrayed in the media is nothing like the reality. For those thinking life working in a brothel is all fun and games, there are additional things to consider before packing your bags.
Many brothel workers are local to the area, convenient for a number of reasons. Girls from outside the local area must supply their own plane ticket, with the brothel paying for transportation from the airport. Girls must pay they way back to the airport upon departure. Additional expenses include licensing and doctor's fees, which are deducted from future earnings. Much like exotic dancing, a girl owes money before she even starts to work.
Many girls working as brothels tend to do so for extended periods of time. New girls may receive a hostile welcome as some feel she has "invaded" their territory and may steal potential customers. High earners receive favor in the eyes of the establishment. Tension can arise due to the fact once a girl receives her medical clearance, she can no longer leave the premises. This can range from a period of 10 days to three weeks or more. Essential items must be purchased from the administrative staff during errand runs.
Brothel earnings are split 50/50 with the establishment. Supplies including condoms and lubrication are available at the brothel for purchase at a significant price markup. Girls are also assessed a room rental fee, somewhere around $20 per day. Rental fees are charged if a girl has clients or not. Girls visiting the bar can open a tab for drinks. Balances must be settled before a girl can end her stay at the brothel. It is not uncommon for girls to extend their stay in order to work off accumulated charges. For some, earning from working in a brothel equal what they would make working as an independent escort. They choose brothel work because it is safer and considered more socially acceptable than "working the streets".
Not everyone who works at a brothel makes extreme amounts of money. High rollers are not as frequent an event as the general public would like to believe. Brothel service prices start around $200, and half of that must be given to the house. Girls make even less on customers who arrive by limo, thanks to a mandatory gratuity paid to the limo driver.