6 Undercover Brothels to Avoid Getting Caught In


THIS MONTH, IN THE WILD, WACKY WORLD OF PROSTITUTION, the small town of Kennebunk, Maine was rocked by scandal when one of its residents—a Zumba dance instructor name Alexis Wright—was arrested for allegedly running her own one-woman brothel straight out of her studio and videotaping all of her transactions. And the best part is that now the whole town plays the waiting game to see whose names end up as a part of her recorded clientele list. Among those already revealed to be past customers include a former mayor and the local high school hockey coach.

Since Zumba Madam’s list of customers is reportedly up to 150 names, that pretty much guarantees that about a tenth of the population of Kennebunk is in hell right now over whether their names will become a matter of public record for tangoing with a prostitute, and if they should just tell their wife/girlfriend/grandma now that they’re on the list and get it over with.

We can empathize with that situation. And since we don’t want our beloved readers to end up like that, we’ve made a list of places notorious for being prostitution fronts to avoid if you don’t want to get caught with your pants down, and the level of danger of getting caught if you find yourself at that particular place.

We rate on a scale of one frowny face to five, with one frowny face representing the least amount of danger, and five the most.

1. Obscure Churches

Wait…wha??? In the house of God???  Sometimes. Not often, but sometimes, yes. For the most unscrupulous of brothel proprietors, a church is actually kind of perfect as a front. Firstly, and most importantly, it arouses ZERO suspicion. Because, y’know, it’s a church. As long as nobody hears the words “bomb,” “Allah,” “jihad,” or “derka” in the same sentence, no one gives a shit.

Secondly, the code language and innuendos are much harder to pick up on for undercover cops. And thirdly, it’s probably the easiest as a front to operate than the other legit businesses on this list. No bookkeeping. No overhead. Very little maintenance.

Aaaaand it’s tax-exempted.


If it has an altar, pews, a giant cross, an organ, and a bunch of marble statues, then it’s probably a legit house of worship. It’s the kooky sub-denominations you’ve never heard of that you have to watch out for. The ones with weird rituals and loaded advertisements offering a discounted “spiritual cleansing,” or something like that.

2. Dance Studios

Until Alexis Wright got busted, it’s doubtful any normal person would’ve batted a suspicious eye at a dance studio and thought to themselves oh yeah, whorehouse central up in there. Because it’s also doubtful that most dance instructors are, like Wright, former porn stars looking to go the straight and narrow.

But that’s not to say she isn’t on the cutting edge of a possible trend. Dance studios are sexualized places, with sweat and spandex, and asses shaking ever so dangerously. Dancing itself can play a crucial role in sexual attraction, studies say, so maybe it’s only inevitable that the oldest profession in the world and the quickest way to into another person’s pants eventually found each other?

Since now we all have a template for what dance-studios-that-are-actually-whorehouses looks like, it seems simple enough to just ask your instructor if she was a porn star in a previous life, and use your best judgment from there.

3. Luxury Resorts

Why would a luxury resort need an illegal source of supplemental income, you ask? Well, because not all “luxury” resorts are located in Tuscany. Venezuela has luxury resorts, too. So does Rwanda. And El Salvador. And Thailand. And Liberia. For administrators at these places, the choices are somewhat limited in how they can facilitate their customer’s vacation and improve business. Mostly because their country sucks, and why a person would vacation there to begin with is anybody’s guess.

Vacationer: So, any good golf courses in the area?

Concierge: Hmm… nope.

Vacationer: How about restaurants?

Concierge: Uhhh… no.

Vacationer: Museums?

Concierge: Also, no.

Vacationer: I have a raging case of diarrhea.

Concierge: Next time don’t drink the water.

Vacationer: I also have a rash.

Concierge: Next time don’t touch anything.

Vacationer: My nose is running. My head hurts.

Concierge: Next time don’t breath in the delicious, third-world air.

Vacationer: So what exactly is there to do around here?

Concierge: First, I make a phone call. Then you go outside, walk away from the hotel until you can’t see the palm trees anymore, and you’ll find out.

Though it’s in many ways waaay more wrong than what goes on stateside, there’s actually an inversely diminished chance you’ll get busted in countries where sex tourism thrives.

4. Truck Stops

Truckers need love, too. More than most people, probably. At truck stops, it usually works something like this: Trucker pulls his rig into one of the gigantic lots set away from the general parking, right next to dozens of other rigs, and either signals the first girl he sees by flashing his headlights, or simply waits until one knocks on his cab door. Nearby, there’s probably a motel where the girl and her pimp are staying at.

It’s an open secret among truckers, and practically common knowledge among non-truckers, but truck stop prostitution survives because if somebody makes a complaint and the cops show up, the stable just moves on down the interstate to the next one. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole.

If you’re not a trucker, you sort of have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to get busted at a truck stop, like Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary. But it can happen to the best of us.

5. Nail Salons

Nail salons are to human traffickers what the trash hauling industry is to the New Jersey mafia. As a shell company for running women, it’s easy to open, and easier maintain. And also, they’re mostly a cash business, meaning there’s almost no limit on how much money a person can launder through it without anybody noticing.

No small wonder, then, that the use of nail salons as cover for prostitution rings have blown up like gangbusters in recent years. In another time and place it might not sound like such a bad idea. Walk into the nail salon, get a mani, get a blowjob, and get on with the rest of your day.

It’s hard not to look suspicious walking into one of these places. To be fair, we mean the ones that look cheap and can usually be found in the nearest sleazy strip mall. As long as it’s easy to be a front, cops will always have their eye on it.

6. Asian Massage Parlors

The gold standard for brothel fronts, ever since the saloon went out of style. Remember the old adage: it’s not racist if it’s true. Most massage parlors in the U.S. are owned and operated by Asian-Americans, so it’s only proportionally self-evident that the ones that get busted for fronting as whorehouses will be predominantly Asian-owned, as well.

These are the places that gave the phrase “happy ending” a whole new meaning. They do just enough to maintain the whole façade of being a serious enterprise, including actually giving you a massage before they cut to the chase.

Everybody knows what goes on in these places, the ones with minimum upkeep that you’ll never find in an upper class district. You’re really rolling the dice by frequenting one. So where is a guy supposed to get a prostitute, anyways? Well, he doesn’t. As with all our content, we end with a hearty endorsement of abstinence only.


Related on The Smoking Jacket:
What She Said: That Time We Got a Whore
Blowing My Wad Part 1: How I Got Hit By a Dodge Minivan and Pissed 500K on Booze,
Whores, and Designer Furniture