Home / News / Bakken News / Lisa Ling visits oil patch in ‘Filthy Rich’ segment (VIDEO)

Lisa Ling visits oil patch in ‘Filthy Rich’ segment (VIDEO)

Lisa Ling, a renowned journalist at CNN, has been traveling around the country for her eight-part series “This is Life with Lisa Ling.” Last Sunday the fourth episode in the series aired. “Filthy Rich”  featured the extreme dynamics that exist in Williston, ND as a result of the oil boom.  Ling focuses mainly on women who live in what she describes as a ‘sea of men.’ The women she interviews are diverse and come from many different areas of the boomtown culture.

First Ling visits the Williston Job Fair where she encounters many interesting women from all over the country looking for jobs as truck drivers, mechanics or rig workers. One women describes how it only took her 10 minutes to secure a job.

Boomtown Babes espresso is a small pink hut in a parking lot, but business is booming for the coffee shop. Women wearing fishnets, shorts and pink t-shirts describe how they enjoy their job and how ‘sex sells’ in Williston.  Women in the service industry in the area generally make an unimaginable amount of cash through tips alone. A barista at Boomtown Babes espresso described a day where she made $600 in tips and later in the segment a waitress claims that she has made up to $1,000 in tips in just one night serving food.

Ling also interviews two women in their 50s working as truck drivers in the oil patch. These women work hard driving trucks back and forth from well sites delivering fuel. Examples of women following the American dream in North Dakota is a major theme throughout the segment.

The reporter also visits what she describes as the ‘dark side of the boom.’ Sex trafficking is a major issue in the oil patch of North Dakota, largely due to the surplus of men and money in the area. Ling follows Windie Jo Lazenko, a former sex worker/stripper who is working for free out of Williston to try to help girls get out of the trade. Lazenko describes sex trafficking in the boomtown as an ‘infestation.’  Ling interviews a young women who is attempting to leave sex trafficking behind. The 19-year-old moved to Williston to live with her boyfriend who later became abusive. “I came because I was in love. Well, I thought I was in love,” she described, “I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t recognize my face and that’s when I realized I had to go.” She became homeless and in desperate need of money. Her story, while common, is not always the story behind sex-trafficking. Lazenko describes that many women, like herself, enter the sex trafficking world as early as 13, often shipped around the country to work in cities around the country.

Watch the whole segment at CNNgo, or the YouTube video below.



  1. She is a lazy reporter who didnt do her home work she miss quotes several things in the video. And by the way lady Fracing isnt a controversial Drilling Method. Its a Controversial Extraction Method.

  2. I’m glad she did bring oilfield to the topic but she’s wrong on many points
    Just like most of non/oilfield families take for granted what they use every day that our husbands jobs bring to the everyday joe. Period

  3. There’s plenty of women in the oil fields. Whats the big deal. Must be white male entitlement. Haaaaaha

  4. It’s too bad she focused so much on the negative aspects of North Dakota. Not every oil worker is paying for sex or going to bars and strip clubs. I know 1000s of workers who have never done anything like that. Instead are up here to provide for their families!

  5. What is even sadder is now loved ones watch this story and think that their husbands wives or significant others are engaged in that behavior. I would say that workers out doing those things aren’t as prevalent as she makes it seem. Now distrust and stress gets infused in the relationship because of lack of trust.

  6. Some of those folks working over there are from same area of Montana where I am from!

  7. Lot of white trash there to

  8. I love how people belong to this page that don’t live in or around Williston. I highly doubt that there is human trafficking going on in Williston, lots of prostitutes walking around and hanging outside of hotels but trafficking not likely Lisa Ling. You showed no evidence of this either. If your working in Williston and you are there for the right reasons, you are in bed by 10pm and up at 5am. Im from a small town, smaller than Williston and I can’t imagine it getting infiltrated with oilfield workers and big rigs but there is nothing you can do about it, it’s to big for you. Embrace it, make money and retire somewhere else. It’s just another location it’s not the promised land.

  9. I never even saw 1 prostitute! Sure they are there but not in the open. The town is relatively safe and the people are nice. Lisa didn’t do anyone any justice with this. Fail!

  10. Another aspect of the “Oil Boom” there is that there are 3 jobs for every unemployed person in Montana! That is news that needs to come out!

  11. I have worked with a lot of different people here in Williston and I would say 95% are here for their families and don’t do those things! That being said I am sure there’s guys out here that are nasty but don’t be putting all oilfield men in that category!!!

    And the part about the bimbo that runs the coffee shop really why even cover that!!! What about the women who have started up daycares or other businesses!! Because she wanted to make men look like pigs! And if I didn’t live here to know better then I would look at this place as a trash hole full of sex raged men who cheat and beat women!! Piss off Lisa Ling!!

  12. North Dakota will look like a waste land once big oil companies get done with it. Where does all the waste go from the fracking?

    • Disposal wells is where it goes. Out of sight and out of mind. I would have to say f*** off to you and your waste land Gary Robbins. It will look better then any other state cause we are the state where money will be still the #1 thing on big energy companies minds. Like the 4 billion dollar plastic making factory the wanna extrac the chemical by product off H2S. So the opportunities are endless

  13. Kelsie Brostuen..you should be able to watch it here!

  14. All I want to know is how do you get into the oil game????

  15. Lisa ling is an idiot… Live in a man camp, stay broke, and send all your money back home… What ignorance… #bakken only place where you can make 100k year and be homeless

    • An actual oilfield worker said that, I’m sure not everyone does that, he was speaking for himself and others similar not directly to every single one. Being homeless is a choice.

  16. I can give her the interview she wants… And not derogatory… I’ll speak for all of us

  17. I’m glad she did this! Plenty of you say ” oh I haven’t seen any prostitutes”, I’ve worked at plenty hotels and yes believe me when I tell you! There are women coming In and out, it’s crazy! And yes some men are hard-working for their families by going to work home and work again but also not every single man lives by that routine, she did a great job! I’m 20 moved here when I was eighteen and have seen a lot since I came, this little town is my home now and I treat it well I am grateful for all the jobs this town has brought to many of us, Wendi who I have never heard about is getting out of her way to make this a better place and I am grateful for all the young girl who she has helped leave their bad choices behind, sex is not for sale!

    • Acording to your comments about Wendi. It’s ok to do wrong as long as later on in life you change? then let’s all young people do that, be prostitutes for years, abortions,etc then as we get older and nobody wants to have sex retire and help other prostitutes leave prostitution?????

  18. Duhh!! I live here in ND and never witnessed none of that. One thing for sure there’s lot of men up here that are working so hard for many hours that the only thing they need is food and beer. Lol

  19. the men up there have been known to cheat on their wives and girlfriends and that is fact and I am a victim of that situation. just a warning to those who have husbands and boyfriends who work there

  20. The episode was broadcast again last night. I was very interested to watch and know more about the oil industry activity and jobs going on there. I was hoping to see more details. Instead I saw Lisa Ling sensationalize a small maybe seedy aspect of a town which (duh) exists in many cities. Lisa, that’s not the story in North Dakota, pull your head out of your ass and the gutter.

  21. I saw her report named ” sugar daddies” in her cnn this is life. It made me very suspicious she was getting paid by that website she was promoting. Her only sources were the website PR person and the girls she chose to tell thei stories. This Lisa Ling has no journalistic talents or integrity whatsoever. Shame on CNN

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