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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

City of Las Vegas finally cracks
down on neighborhood brothels

Clark County District Attorney refuses to cooperate

         photo by Steve Miller

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 31, 2010

LAS VEGAS - It's been two and a half years since Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman told reporters, "I'll take a baseball bat and break his head if he ever comes here."

The mayor was referring to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert who dared to place a telephone call to Goodman describing his visit to Oriental Angels massage parlor located only one block from my home.

Maybe Mr. Herbert should have left out the part about Steve Miller taking him there, and that Dr. Melissa Farley, the author of Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections, accompanied us.

Herbert reportedly told Goodman about how he entered the massage brothel tucked away behind McDonalds in an innocuous neighborhood shopping center to ascertain whether the "Therapists" working there possessed licenses issued by the Nevada Board of Massage Therapy?

Before our visit, I'd arranged for Herbert and Dr. Farley to interview a licensed massage therapist who for several years has managed a spa located in a major Strip hotel. He described having to go to an accredited school for over seven months and paying tuition of over $10,000 to obtain his Nevada state license. He also told of the harsh penalties he would suffer if he hired therapists who did not possess current state licenses.

The therapist was astonished when we told him that most employees of neighborhood massage parlors are unlicensed, and that state authorities have so far taken no action.

Dr. Farley, Herbert, and I drove around the corner to Oriental Angels. While Farley and I watched from the curb, small children frolicked in the play area of McDonalds a few steps away from the massage parlor,  Herbert rang the doorbell and was quickly admitted to the lobby. According to Herbert, he began looking for the licenses which are required to be prominently displayed. When he saw none, he inquired where they were?

An Asian women immediately pushed Herbert out the door while screaming at us in Chinese. That was enough to inspire Herbert to call the mayor and ask what is going on in our town? The rest is history.

Herbert penned the New York Times September 4, 2007 column "City as Predator" based partly on his experience at Oriental Angels, and his response from our city's mayor.

Since his election in 1999, Oscar Goodman has allowed massage parlors, pay day loan stores, and escort services to obtain privileged business licenses within the city limits. Most of these enterprises are known for being fronts for organized crime.

Most are located on Paradise Road, or Sahara Ave. within the council wards of Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese.

The criminals who ply these illicit trades are not the type normally written of on these pages. None have Italian surnames. Most of the new breed that have infested Sin City are from Asia, Mexico, and Eastern Europe. They mainly prey on our tourists, and use taxi and limo drivers as their ambassadors by reportedly paying drivers up to $150.00 per passenger delivered.

The hotels and casinos rarely complain because the sexually orientated type businesses perform a public service of sorts -- keeping tourists away from the legal brothels located an hour and a half away in Nye County.

This way, a quick "Happy Ending" at a nearby massage parlor, or a quick room visit by an escort can satisfy a gambler's lust and have him back in the casino within an hour. The massage parlors are all located within a five minute cab ride of most Strip hotels, and the escorts provide room service right under the noses of hotel security and executives.

This is an old story, so old that I'm embarrassed to say that an column I authored back in 2006 was the impetuous to bring Dr. Farley and Bob Herbert to Las Vegas to investigate. The column entitled "Las Vegas is the end of the road in the sex slave trade" was one of my most widely read works.

My April 12, 2010 column "Secret Neighborhood Brothels" inspired a call from Las Vegas Councilwoman Tarkanian. She told me that the owner of Oriental Angels has hired "expensive attorneys;" and that the city attorney was prosecuting; that a "Show Cause" hearing was in the works.

(It will be interesting to know if those expensive attorneys have connections to Oscar Goodman who prior to being elected mayor was a prominent criminal defense attorney with several wealthy clients in the adult entertainment industry.)

I asked why the city attorney was prosecuting instead of the county district attorney? (The city attorney is limited to misdemeanor cases. The DA mainly prosecutes felonies.) Councilwoman Tarkanian responded that the DA declined to take the case after Metro Police issued five Requests for Prosecution. This did not surprise me because Clark County DA  David Roger has long been known for taking political campaign contributions from the adult industry.

David Roger's latest refusal to prosecute prostitution related crimes strengthens my long held suspicion that he takes bribes from certain adult business owners. Many more such brothels are located in China Town in unincorporated Clark County within the direct purview of Roger. After numerous raids there, to Metro Police dismay, Roger also has taken no action.

I asked the councilwoman to remind her colleague Mayor Pro Tem Reese that many more such businesses are located within his ward several miles east. That he need not look further than the corner of Sahara and Paradise Road to see what I mean. There he will find a half dozen more massage parlors that are infamous for selling "Happy Endings," and are coveted by local cabbies for their kick backs.

Below is the first documentation indicating that the City of Las Vegas, specifically Councilwoman Tarkanian, has had enough. The saddest part is that the women mentioned are probably in our town against their will according to Dr. Farley, and possibly were held captive in the back of the massage parlor, or in a residential house nearby (more on this later).

How would you like to have this happening just around the corner from the home you've lived in for thirty years, and where you raised your children?

Since writing my column "Secret Neighborhood Brothels," I've had the opportunity to re-visit my neighbor who purchased the house that is the subject of that article. He confirmed that the seller was a woman by the name of Jinli Ran, the proprietor of Oriental Angels, and possibly the woman who threw Bob Herbert out.

The house is located less than a block from the brothel. Subsequent interviews with neighbors described a "marshal arts teacher" living there with a number of young Asian girls until the house was sold. Upon further inspection of the house during its remodeling, I observed specks of what appeared to be blood splattered on the walls of several rooms. In the garage were a number of pieces of workout equipment, leather fighter's gloves, and a leather punching bag that someone discarded.

Because several interior doors had been broken down, I now believe that whomever occupied those rooms barred the doors at some time during their stay in my neighborhood, and possibly the "marshal arts teacher" forced entry and rendered beatings to whomever had locked him out.

Several cab drivers also told me that Oriental Angels offered something they called "The full girlfriend experience." According to my sources, those who requested more than masturbation were escorted to the house just around the corner where additional girls were kept captive.

Evidently, if a "Happy Ending" would not suffice, there were other services available. (How would you like to live next door to that?)

I have no eyewitness accounts of the brutality that obviously took place in that house, but based on a Metro Police Swat Team raid that resulted in the the front door being bashed in, there are ample grounds for speculation that the bedrooms were used as torture chambers.

God help those young women from across the sea who according to Dr. Farley may have been smuggled into Vegas with the promise of becoming a model or movie star!

Being illegal aliens and not being able to speak English, the girls were probably held captive and deprived of contact with their families, often being told that harm will come to their relatives back home if they try to escape or call out for help.

I congratulate Councilwoman Tarkanian (left) for taking action, and certainly hope Mayor Pro Tem Reese (right) follows her lead.


Oriental Angels is only one of many such businesses in the "New Las Vegas." However, based on the bizarre baseball bat threat made by Mayor Oscar Goodman, and the complete refusal of Clark County District Attorney David Roger to prosecute these felonies, I have little faith that other such human slave trade cancers will end anytime soon.

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