Economic Tough Times Hit Nevada Brothel

A woman who had just scored a precious high-paying job in the midst of a disastrous economy was willing to fly in from out of town to take it.

Her new boss, Susan Austin, had spared no expense and the woman was quickly whisked into a waiting limo at the Reno, Nev., airport.

For the sake of privacy, we're calling the woman "Kimberly," and the coveted job she got was as a prostitute at one of the few places in America where it's legal -- the self-proclaimed "world famous" Mustang Ranch.

"I'm nervous, you know," said Kimberly, who would be working as a prostitute for the first time. "I've got a little shake. I'm more nervous than I think I've ever been in my life."

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'No Callbacks, No Interviews, No Nothing'

Kimberly's explanation for getting into the business is simple. Times are tough, so tough she says she couldn't find any other way to make a living.

"I filled out 20 or 30 applications," said Kimberly. "No call backs, no interviews, no nothing, so you know, I've decided to come down here to make money to live on my own and survive because the economy is bad."

Kimberly went from applying to work at a day care facility or behind the counter at a department store, to getting on a plane and taking a job at a brothel.

The Mustang Ranch is more like a small compound, tucked away off the highway and surrounded by mountains.

As Kimberly headed inside, "Madam Susan" Austin, Mustang's manager, explained that these are unique times and the world's oldest profession is not immune.

"I have more ladies coming in now than I ever did before because of the economic times," she said. "They're all coming in. [It's] the only way to make some decent money in this time and age. Jobs are not that many available because of the economic times and they can make more money doing this than they can flipping burgers at McDonald's."

The first stop for Kimberly was the doctor's office, where she confirmed that she'd never worked in a brothel before.

Prostitution: More Demand, Less Money

The Mustang Ranch is a multimillion-dollar business and, despite the unique product, it's run with sophistication and a keen eye on the profit margin. Austin is a former prostitute and shrewd businesswoman who never goes anywhere without her German guard dog named Cita. These days, she is worried. Despite strong demand, the clients are spending less money.

"Well, recently, business has dropped off dramatically dollar-wise, a lot of men coming in, a lot of parties, but less money," she said. "They don't have as much to spend."

The girls at the brothel love to brag about making big money; thousands a week in some cases. But the women are willing to accept less, Austin said.

"They have obligations as well, they've got to earn their living they've got families to support, bills to pay, their lifestyle is changing a little bit as a result of it."

A prostitute named Ginger told "Nightline" that, in terms of her discussions with clients, money is a hot topic these days.

"Yeah, I mean [clients are] very open about it and that's why we, like I said, we try to work with them. We're not going to turn them down, you know, everyone is suffering a little bit right now," she said.

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