A strip club owner in Sauget, Illinois is leading the fight to stop the selling of women and children in the St. Louis area and around the country. His army of people, the workers in his clubs, is on the frontlines of a mission to save a life. It’s a place where sexy sells that serves as the home of a movement called Club Owners Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).
“If a girl everyday says, ‘Oh, my God, I need to make this much’ or ‘I don’t want to go home,’ then that’s a warning sign,” said a dancer who performs under the stage name “Cashmere.”
“People generally believe human trafficking is going on and it’s widespread in the adult nightclubs. I believe they are mistaken,” Ocello said. He started fighting the perception a few years ago.
Ocello said it’s impossible for legitimate business owners to traffic in people. Trafficking requires force, coercion and fraud.
“These women, they decide when they’re going to come to work, how long they’re going to work, who they’re going to dance for,” he said.
Ocello became an advocate after one of the dancers in his clubs had an expired visa.
Saving lives is what Ocello is trying to do. He does it every day when he puts on the uniform and patrols the streets as a certified and commissioned police officer in the state of Illinois. He works for the Centreville Police Department.