Published December 09. 2012 4:00AM
If you doubt how much prostitution business casino customers generate, consider a police report from a raid on an alleged brothel in Norwich back in the spring of 2011.
Nine Norwich police officers and one agent from Homeland Security participated in the raid on the three-bedroom house on Asylum Street.
While police were there, cellphones scattered around the house kept ringing, and the officers answered the calls.
"Cellular phones were constantly ringing," says a report on the May raid. "Several people were calling for 'Momma' and looking to have girls come to their room at the casino.
"There were also several phone calls from men asking for the price and arranging to come to the residence to meet with a girl. (The) phones were also receiving text messages from customers looking for females and advising what room they were in at the casino."
Recession? What recession?
According to the arrest report, men were being charged $200 for a one-hour session with a woman. The alleged madam, or "Momma," kept $80 to $100 of that, according to the arrest report.
Police ended up seizing the five cellphones during the raid. They also seized some 38 condoms. The condoms were everywhere - next to beds, on tables, in a closet, the report said.
Two people were arrested in the May raid on the house on Asylum Street. One was a 21-year-old woman charged with prostitution, and the other was 46-year-old Ailing Zhu of Norwich, who was charged with second-degree promoting prostitution.
I found the arrest report on the 2011 raid last week after I inquired about some recent prostitution arrests by Norwich police.
Zhu, who was eventually fined $500 and given a suspended sentence and two years of probation on a misdemeanor charge of permitting prostitution related to last year's raid, was charged again in late November with promoting prostitution.
Zhu was charged with four other women in what police said was an undercover investigation targeting prostitution promoted on the websites cityvibe.com and backpage.com.
Police said the November arrests were related to last year's raid on the house on Asylum Street.
Zhu is next scheduled to appear in court Thursday. She has posted a $25,000 bond, according to police.
It's not clear from the report on the raid last year why a Homeland Security agent participated, although the agency sometimes gets involved in local prostitution cases when there are allegations of human trafficking in which women may be coerced into commercial sexual situations.
Police said last week an investigation into the Norwich prostitution is continuing.
Police said in the arrest report on the May 2011 raid that a phone answered at the Asylum Street house was the same number as one used on a website promoting the "Best Asian Escort in New England Area," with pictures of Asian women.
The younger woman arrested on prostitution charges during the 2011 raid told police that she came to work for Zhu after Zhu got the house on Asylum and that she had seen different women come and go who also worked for her.
The woman said she initially met Zhu in 2009, when she would have sex with men for money at Mohegan Sun and give Zhu a cut of what she made.
The woman added that Zhu "will arrange for girls to have sex for money with customers who are staying at the casino."
Since police have been arresting women on prostitution charges, it will be interesting if the men might get targeted next.
After all, someone is on the other end of the lines of all those ringing cellphones.
This is the opinion of David Collins.