The hotel industry doesn’t like to talk about it and you definitely won’t learn about it at a college that teaches you hotel management. But, start working in a hotel and it won’t be long before you’ve checked in a sex worker. Whatever you want to call someone who works the oldest profession in the world – sex worker, escort, prostitute, hooker, call girl/guy, lady (or man) of the night – they’re a reality of the job.
Unfortunately there are many hotels around the world that tolerate sex workers, often letting them conduct business in the hotel bar or nightclub where they recruit clients. There are even hotels that “employ” sex workers as part of the establishment off the books. Sadly, these women are more often than not victims of human trafficking and if you find yourself working at one of these hotels I would advise you to resign and alert the authorities. However, for the sake of this post I will be focusing on the sex worker who does not have a “business arrangement” with the hotel.
Negative Attention from a Sex Worker
Everyone who works in a hotel should know the signs of how to spot a sex worker, especially management and front desk agents. Even though sex workers and their clients try to be discreet they can sometimes draw unwanted attention from other guests and this is why you need to be aware of when they’re in your hotel. You do not want any negative attention brought to the business from a guest who recognized that your hotel was being used by a sex worker. Whether in the form of an online review, social media or word of mouth any negative attention could be a disaster.
Signs of a Sex Worker Checking In
Contrary to what Hollywood might have you believe not all sex workers look like Julia Roberts and with that in mind here are some signs that the person checking into your hotel might be a sex worker.
Low to Mid-Range Hotel:
Client wants to pay cash at check-in. This is the number one signal. The guest practically has a flashing neon sign above his head that the person checking in with him is a hired sex worker.
Sex worker and client are looking for a convenient place to conduct business. Often an hour or more from the client’s home. You can see the client’s address when you check their identification.
Most often a walk-in with no prior reservation.
Do not look like a couple. Significant age gap with older male client. Different ethnic profiles.
The client does the entire interaction with the front desk agent while the sex worker sits quietly in the lobby.
Client is nervous at check-in. Speaks fast and tries to be too friendly with small talk. Fumbles with his wallet and pen. Misses where to initial on the registration card. Client is paying an hourly rate and wants the check-in process to be as fast as possible.
If you work in a higher end hotel (4 stars and above) there will be less of a chance of a sex worker drawing unwanted attention to the business.
High End Hotel:
Not obvious to spot.
Tend to travel solo.
Dress glamorous as if they’re going out to a fine dining restaurant or wear professional business like clothes.
Clients are often travelling and will stay the night. Sex worker is on an hourly rate and will leave at the conclusion is business.
Know which room the client is staying in prior to arriving and will bypass front desk by going straight to that room.
Check-Out is When You Realize!
Let’s say that you missed all of the signs listed above. Check-out is the last stage when it finally hits you that a sex worker has just completed a “transaction” at your hotel. The big giveaway is when a couple checks out just a few hours after they checked in. Why would they be checking out so early you might be thinking? They’re likely to give you one of these reasons as they hand their keys back over the front desk:
“We’ve been driving a while and just wanted to rest. Have a shower and get something to eat” (even though they never left the room or ordered food).
“We decided we’ll keep driving. We’ve only got a couple of hours to our destination”.
“We got a phone call. Family emergency.”
Yet with these reasons the guest does not want any discount off the room rate even though they are not staying the night!
What Can You Do?
It would be ideal to refuse a sex worker business at check-in but most of the world has laws against this and in locations with such laws there is still no way to be 100% sure that a guest checking in is without doubt a sex worker and that’s discrimination. Until legislation changes sex workers will continue to be an unspoken but commonly known and reluctantly tolerated part of the hotel industry. As a hotel manager you can educate your staff to recognize when a sex worker is or, has been on site and to implement systems that minimize any damage to the reputation of your business.
Thanks for reading
- Do you feel that sex workers are something hotel management and staff should be prepared for?