Gold Coast Madam: First TV interview about Chicago escort compan - FOX 32 News Chicago

Gold Coast Madam: First TV interview about her high-end Chicago escort operation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Four years in federal prison have not changed Rose Laws, the so-called "Gold Coast Madam," who was busted in 2002 for running a high-priced, nationwide "sex for sale" operation based in Chicago.

SEE: An exclusive look at Chicago's dirty secret: Gold Coast escorts

Laws says the feds thought gangsters were behind her business and wanted her to turn them in. But she says, it was just her and in her opinion, she wasn't doing anything wrong.

"I don't feel like I did anything really bad. I didn't hurt people and I helped people," Laws says of her past.

There are no apologies and no regrets from Rose, who plied her trade in Chicago's trendiest neighborhoods in the 80's and 90's.

In her book, Rose claims her girls entertained governors, senators, at least one mayor, and lots of professional athletes. She won't name names, but she tells some spicy stories.

"This one, the outfit she has on? One of the politicians tore it off of her, and put it on himself and then really tore it up," Rose says, pointing to a photo of one of the girls.

Now retired and living in Florida, Rose doesn't think of what she did as sex trafficking. She says she was an agent, serving clients who wanted a date and that it was all very high-class.

"I had parties all the time and girls flew in from all over the country to make sure they were at the party," Rose says. "I knew my clients. I could pick them out at any restaurant at any time."

Yet, she does have a few chilling stories of transactions gone bad, like a girl who was working a bachelor party and was savagely bitten by a "client."

"And uh, the girl was in the hospital, so he called me and he said, I will take care of the hospital bill, and I will give her a months pay," Rose recalls.

And three others almost drowned, according to Rose. They were abused by three players from the ‘85 Bears in a hot tub.

"They held their heads under water until they could climax, each one of them had to climax before they'd let the girls come out of the water but, the fear that they would want to arrest the girls, or arrest me, kept me from going to the police," Rose says.

Rose also denies that any trauma in her own background led her to the sex trade, though she describes an impoverished childhood with a father known for beatings and eight years with an abusive husband. When she left him, she became a desperate single mom, who turned to selling sex.

"It wasn't just me. He would hit my brothers or anybody," Rose says of her father. "I had no money and I had no education and I had no means to get them."

At her peak, Madam Rose lived the high life in a high rise, running "the circuit" of hundreds of women across the country, though, she herself stopped taking clients as soon as she could. She claims her girls were not victims.

"I never forced anybody, ever, to do anything," Rose claims. "They were only making money to support themselves to get a better life."

But Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation's Rachel Durschlag argues that, "there's no such thing as a harmless form of prostitution."

Advocates for survivors of the sex trade dispute the Gold Coast Madam's "rose colored" picture of prostitution.

"We work with survivors who say, `I saw pretty woman and I've been waiting for my Richard Gere all my life and he never came,'" says Durschlag. "`But who did come were men who raped me, and harmed me, and made me feel terrible about myself.'"

Even by Rose's own account, the escort fantasy was full of contradictions. She doesn't think she was a victim, but she was forced into the trade by poverty and circumstances. In her book, in addition to those frightening stories of violence, she talks about working to keep "her girls" from drinking and drugs.

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