Published On: Sat, Mar 2nd, 2019

Nevada sued over legal prostitution: It promotes sexual exploitation, trafficking

Nevada’s sanction of organized sexual exploitation—that is, its legalized system of prostitution—has created powerful economic incentives for the “supply and distribution” of people for sex—especially women. One woman sexually trafficked into the vortex of Nevada’s legal sexual exploitation market, Rebekah Charleston, today filed suit against the state seeking repeal of its prostitution laws on constitutional grounds, as well as relief for all individuals sexually exploited or trafficked as a result of legal prostitution in Nevada. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds Ms. Charleston for her courage in challenging the powerful and influential interests behind Nevada’s organized sexual exploitation industry.

photo/ Sammis Reachers

“With the state of Nevada’s help, sexual exploiters have constructed a legally sanctioned supply chain of sexual exploitation that thwarts federal laws,” said Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Policy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Legal prostitution in Nevada and the male demand for prostitution it unleashes, are engines that fuel sexual exploitation and sex trafficking,” Thompson continued. “Nevada’s prostitution laws are antithetical with purposes of federal statutes like the Mann Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which seek to prevent sexual exploitation and prosecute exploiters.”

Thompson added, “A recent study estimates that at least 5,016 individuals are being sold for sex in Nevada every month—not counting those who are in brothels, escort agencies and massage parlors. On top of its already highly exploitive legal sex trade, Nevada has the largest illegal sex trade in the country adjusted for population. It is 63% higher than the next highest state of New York and double that of Florida.”

The damage that Nevada’s organized system of sexual exploitation has perpetrated is beyond reckoning. As Rebekah Charleston, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Nevada, explains, “Every man who buys sex from a brothel has chosen to contract out the job of violence, intimidation, and coercion to a sex trafficker or brothel owner. Every elected official or citizen who supports or who has voted in support of legal prostitution, has chosen to allow the vulnerable, disadvantaged, and desperate to become prey of the greedy and powerful.”

“For more than 40 years, Nevada legislators have not only acquiesced but assented to the rise of a massive sexual exploitation industry within its jurisdiction. It’s past time for Nevada to close this dark chapter in its history. We invite Nevada’s elected officials and citizens to join us in working to reform its prostitution laws to eliminate sex buying and brothel keeping, provide services for those seeking to exit the sex trade, and building a world free from sexploitation,” Charleston and Thompson closed.

Nevada is named to the 2019 Dirty Dozen List, which identifies 12 leading mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation. The Dirty Dozen List is a project of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation—a nonpartisan nonprofit located in Washington, DC, dedicated to addressing the full spectrum of sexual exploitation. Nevada is the first-ever state to receive the ignominious distinction of placement on this List.


Learn more at EndSexualExploitation.org/nevada and EndSexualExploitation.org/prostitution.

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