(Chuck Muth) – The Nye County Commission has drafted a series of updates and changes to its county code as it relates to the operation of legal brothels (Chapter 9.20 Prostitution). Here’s some of the good, bad and ugly…
The Commission proposes changing a pair of terms used in the code which will make the language both more accurate and less stigmatizing.
The term “house of prostitution” is being changed to “brothel.”
Along the same line, commercial sex workers in legal brothels will no longer be referred to in the ordinance as “prostitutes,” but “courtesans.” An important distinction, especially since intellectually dishonest prohibitionists regularly try to fool the public by conflating legal commercial sex work with the illegal variety.
The fact is, whether you like it or not, commercial sex work in licensed brothels is LEGAL. And the women who work there are professionals in a legal business. They deserve to be treated with the appropriate respect.
On the other hand, the proposed new definition of “Prostitution” is still problematic…
“Engaging in any act, for a fee, with the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either person.”
Vague. I can see the Jason Guinasso’s of the world twisting that language to include, for example, women who dance in gentlemen’s clubs even if no actual sex act takes place.
No changes are being proposed to the advertising prohibition ordinance. The following language remains…
“No signs may be placed anywhere in the County advertising the brothel or associated businesses on the same property. No print advertising is allowed anywhere in the County…”
Now, to be fair, such advertising prohibitions are enshrined in state law (NRS 201.430), so the county is only complying with state-dictated restrictions. But two wrongs don’t make a right.
And it’s simply wrong for state law or county ordinance to restrict the advertising of legal businesses.
Gentlemen’s clubs are allowed to advertise on billboards. Ditto licensed marijuana businesses. And liquor stores. And gambling houses. Often using images of scantily-clad women in sexy poses with explicitly suggestive wording.
For example, consider the wording on this Las Vegas billboard on U.S. 95 near Henderson…
The World Famous
1000’s of Beautiful Girls,
3 Ugly Ones,
And Lots Of…(picture of a cat)
Gee, I wonder what that’s supposed to mean?
How is this considered appropriate and acceptable for a major highway billboard, but a tastefully-produced billboard advertising a legal brothel isn’t?
Or walk down the Strip in Las Vegas on any given evening and look at the print advertising being handed out by “flippers” promoting “Girls to Your Room.” Ditto those extremely provocative “Girls to Your Room” mobile billboards driving up and down the Strip.
Trust me. Those ladies aren’t going to rooms for Bible study!
I hope the soon-to-be convened Brothel Study Committee established by the 2019 Nevada Legislature takes a long, hard look at this issue. If the business is legal, it should be allowed to legally advertise.
Perhaps the biggest complaint that sparked the establishment of the Legislature’s Brothel Study Committee is the issue of “lockdowns.”
“Lockdowns” are rules established confining courtesans to brothel property for long periods of time.
Under the existing Nye County ordinance, a courtesan who leaves the property “in excess of twenty-four (24) hours” must be re-tested for sexually transmitted diseases before being allowed to work again.
This is, at best, arbitrary. A sex act – or, for that matter, multiple sex acts – can easily be completed in less than 24 hours. So, if the interest is in protecting the public health, why 24 hours before re-testing instead of, say, 24 minutes?
Which still is all it would take to hop in your car and drive to some remote desert location for a “quickie.”
Fortunately, the existing 24-hour language is being scrapped. Unfortunately, the proposed new language isn’t any better…
“Courtesans are allowed to leave the Brothel Premises for six (6) hours per ten (10) day medical clearance period during the hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Courtesan with a verified medical appointment may leave the brothel premises for up to twelve (12) hours during the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Any Courtesan who leaves the Brothel Premises in excess of these hours per ten (10) day medical clearance shall be subject to all the medical testing requirements set forth in this chapter and any other applicable State laws and regulations prior to engaging in any act of prostitution.”
“Allowed to leave”? For no more than six hours per 10-day period? And only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.? In America?
Now, to be clear, an important distinction needs to be made here.
We’re not talking about the private rules of a private business as established between the private business and a Courtesan working under an agreement as an independent contractor.
What we’re talking about here is the GOVERNMENT locking down and restraining the freedom of adult women working in a legal business to come and go as they please even when not working.
Again, you CANNOT make the argument that this “lockdown” rule is to protect the public health since it is perfectly possible to pick up an STD while away from the Brothel Premises for less than six hours.
Add to that the fact that if a Courtesan did leave the Brothel Premises for whatever period of time and DID pick up a sexually transmitted disease, subsequent brothel clients are still protected thanks to legally-enforced mandatory condom use at all brothels.
And consider this…
WebMD reports that some 20 million cases of STD’s are reported every year – with HALF of them coming from young people between the ages of 15-24. So if public health is really the concern, why not similarly “lock down” teenagers?
You see how absurd this is?
It should also be pointed out that no such “lockdown” policies have existed at any of the legal brothels in Lyon County for over 20 years; nor are any such policies proscribed by Lyon County ordinance.
The Courtesans there come and go as they please. Many leave daily to attend school at colleges and universities. Others take days off. Some even go home every night so they can fix their kids breakfast and send them off to school in the morning.
And there’s never been even a hint of a public health danger in all that time.
Again, what a private employer and an independent contractor agree to in a private contractual relationship is one thing. That’s between two free and consenting adults.
But to inscribe such “allowed to leave” rules in a government ordinance is just plain wrong.
There’s lots more in the proposed ordinance update; good, bad and ugly. But let’s wrap up with this…
If you’d like to read and review the entire proposed ordinance, click here
A final bill is expected to be introduced at the county commission meeting on October 15, 2019.
And a final vote on the final version is expected to be held at the county commission meeting on November 19, 2019.
The public may comment on this proposal at any of the commission meetings in person.
Or if you’d like to submit your comments online, providing they are submitted by 5:00 p.m. PACIFIC on September 27, 2019…
Please keep your comments respectful, on point and without the use of profanity.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government grassroots advocacy organization, and adviser to the Nevada Brothel Association. His views are his own.