Hotel Housekeepers Spill Dirty Little Secrets

Employees say they're tired of guests coming on to them, exposing themselves or offering money for sex

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hotel housekeepers in Chicago say two high-profile cases of attacks on maids in New York gave them the courage to come forward.

    Hotel housekeepers in Chicago say they're tired of hotel guests coming on to them, exposing themselves or offering them money for sex.

    The group said the high-profile New York cases of two alleged assaults on hotel staff by high-profile bankers gave them the courage to come forward.

    "One day I was cleaning the men's restroom and a man walked in while I was cleaning, pulled his pants down and took out his private parts," recalled Yazmin Vasquez.

    She claims that after she chided him, the man filed a complaint at the front desk.  Hotel management, she said, told her to be quiet about the incident because the man was "a VIP."

    "I was very angry," Vasquez said. "I'm not a prostitute. I come here to work. I work hard. I deserve respect for the work that I do."

    Another housekeeper, Apolonia Rivera, recounted a similar experience. 

    She said her supervisor laughed at her after she complained about a hotel guest flashing her.

    "I was afraid and that was not funny to me," Rivera said.

    Claudia Virto said the management at her hotel also did nothing when she reported how she had to escape a naked guest. 

    "I was freaked out. I literally had to jump over the bed to get to the door," she recalled.

    When she reported the incident, she was told by hotel management that it was "his word against yours."

    The single mom didn't pursue it because she was afraid she'd lose her job.

    Hortensia Valera, a housekeeper at a downtown hotel, recalled how one guest left $20 on the dresser.

    "He asked me, 'Do you want to make extra money and do you want to do massage to me?'" Valera recounted. "Men shouldn't treat women like that. I was scared but after that I was very mad because I'm a mother and I'm working very hard to give the best to my kids."

    The union representing the workers is proposing some changes to make them safer, including having them work in pairs, letting them wear pants instead of dresses, and increasing hotel security. 

    Some hotels in New York are now starting to give their housekeepers panic buttons.

    "I would like to tell the company that I work for that we deserve more protection.  I agree guests are important but so are we, and we need to be treated that way," Vasquez said.

    And to her fellow housekeepers:  "We work hard for our families. We need to not stay quiet. We need to speak up."