Houston bar loses license after sex trafficking investigation

The investigation into West Hardy’s Vegas nightclub began after several women who worked there claimed that prostitution and human trafficking were occurring.

HOUSTON — The lights are off and the door is locked outside the Las Vegas Night Club on West Hardy Road.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission permanently revoked the north Houston bar’s liquor license after investigating allegations of human trafficking and prostitution. They say criminal charges have also been filed against several suspects at the facility.

Investigators from TABC’s Special Investigations Unit said they spoke to several women who allegedly work at the small bar at 12629 W. Hardy Road. They said the bar operated like a ‘brothel’.

“Prostitution is a prime indicator of even more serious organized criminal activity, including human trafficking,” TABC executive director Bentley Nettles said in a statement. “TABC will continue to actively investigate and shut down any criminal activity taking place in the businesses we license.

TABC Victim Services offered assistance to all potential victims of human trafficking identified that night, agency representatives said in the statement.

Investigators first served the bar owner with an emergency order requiring them to stop all alcohol and service for 90 days. Further investigation led them to permanently cancel the license.

TABC public information officer Chris Porter said it’s possible some patrons never even knew what was going on in the back rooms of the bar, but they found several beds and evidence prostitution, as well as five to 10 women who have been identified as possible victims of human trafficking. .

“For a lot of people like you or me, we would go to this place and have no idea,” Porter said. “Eventually (we) discovered that there was in fact prostitution in the business. Over the past year, we’ve extended services to approximately 76 potential victims of human trafficking and prostitution. “

Encountering human trafficking is nothing new to TABC and officers are trained specifically to spot human trafficking. Sometimes legitimate TABC licensed bars are a front for illegal activities.

“The good thing about TABC is because we regulate these businesses that sell alcohol, we’re able to do inspections pretty much anytime,” Porter said.

Porter said they know activity continues to occur at bars across the state, so they want you to know what those warning signs look like.

“Any sign that an employee may not be able or allowed to leave a location when they want to,” Porter said. definitely signs of human trafficking.

He said if an employee looks nervous or fearful, that’s also a sign. If you see any of these red flags, contact the police or TABC.

The suspects charged in connection with the case have not been identified.

The case is still under investigation.

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigative Division, FBI, Harris County Constable’s Office – Precinct 1, U.S. Department of State, and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office joined the TABC in the ‘investigation.

Resources for victims of human trafficking

If you or someone you know is in danger and needs immediate help:

  • Dial 911 for the local police department
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
  • Text: 233733
  • Chat online with Human Trafficking Hotline.

KHOU 11 on social networks: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

About James K. Bonnette

Check Also

YouTube stars Nelk Boys will open a bar with David Grutman

A very expensive redevelopment of a classic Firestone tire garage has gone off the rails, …