(Chuck Muth) – It’s been a busy week for Nevada’s legal brothel industry…
1.) The lawsuit to outlaw Nevada’s brothels
Ginger Allen of CBS News in Dallas, Texas reported on a federal lawsuit recently filed by a Texas woman named Rebekah Charleston who is seeking to wipe out Nevada’s law allowing brothels to operate legally in Nevada’s rural counties.
Charleston claims to have been forced into illegal prostitution, dating back to the late 1990’s, in a Dallas suburb and later set up shop in Nevada. In her lawsuit, she claims her “pimp” forced her to work in a pair of Lyon County brothels – a dubious claim only recently raised that has yet to be confirmed or corroborated.
In addition, no record has been found indicating Charleston disclosed that she was being “trafficked” to either the local sheriff’s office – which would have issued her a work card after an FBI background check – or the brothels where she claims to have worked for a couple of weeks before re-locating to Las Vegas and returning to the illegal market.
There’s also no record of her reporting her claims of being trafficked in Nevada until many years after she was busted and jailed for tax evasion and bank fraud – neither of which has anything whatsoever to do with Nevada’s legal brothels.
How convenient…and suspicious.
One has to wonder why Charleston is focusing her time and attention on the legal brothel industry where women work voluntarily rather than on the illegal market which she claims victimized her against her will.
It’s a mystery.
2.) The bill to outlaw Nevada’s brothels
Nevada State Sen. Joe Hardy (R-Clark County) is attempting to overturn Nevada’s decades-old brothel law and put all of the state’s legal courtesans and support employees on the street. The BDR (bill draft request) is being co-sponsored by Democrat State Sen. Patricia Spearman (D-Clark County).
Sen. Hardy was interviewed this week by Sam Shad on the Nevada Newsmakers program and continued the opposition’s propaganda tactic of comparing illegal street prostitution to legal sex work in Nevada’s brothels.
When challenged by Mr. Shad – who pointed out that sex work in a legal brothel is far safer for workers, the clients and the public at large – Sen. Hardy then put forward a claim that the existence of legal brothels encourages illegal prostitution.
But that’s like saying the presence of legal pharmacies – and, for that matter, legal marijuana dispensaries – encourages the illegal drug market. Yet we don’t see any proposals from Mr. Hardy to outlaw neighborhood drug stores or make marijuana illegal again.
It’s a mystery.
Two days later Mr. Shad interviewed Ruby Rae and Alice Little – two legal courtesans at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel in Lyon County and ambassadors for the Nevada Brothel Association.
Ruby and Alice did a masterful job at shooting down Sen. Hardy’s paper-thin claims and made the case for why it should be an adult woman’s right to choose whether or not to work in a legal brothel.
Click here to watch both interviews.
3.) The Patriots’ Owner and the Florida Massage Parlor
Aurora Snow of the Daily Beast wrote about the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft being arrested “in a prostitution sting on a South Florida massage parlor.” And our own Nevada Brothel Association ambassador Alice Little is quoted extensively in the piece…
Courtesan Alice Little stresses the positive impact of legalized brothels and suggests if they were more widely adopted, they could bring clarity and enforce distinctions between sex trafficking and prostitution.
“Making sex work illegal doesn’t stop the need for human intimacy, it just sends those who need it underground. Instead of gangsters, criminalization creates pimps. Instead of speakeasies, criminalization creates massage parlors,” says Little.
“With legalization comes taxation to address social ills and a legitimate process for screening workers that keeps them clean, safe, and out of the hands of human traffickers,” she adds.
Working at the Bunny Ranch, one of Nevada’s several legalized brothels, Little has seen numerous affluent, famous clients treated with discretion, indulging without becoming a salacious headline.
Pondering why Kraft, who has the means, didn’t opt for a more secretive approach, Little theorizes, “If there was a restaurant several states away and you were hungry, it would be far more tempting to go to that place on the corner that doesn’t have a health inspection than it would be to fly in somewhere to eat.”
Why don’t more people see and accept the logic of Alice’s arguments?
It’s a mystery.
4.) Throwing some sunshine on Clark County’s illegal sex trade
On Sunday the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that it’s been 745 days since it first began “asking for arrest reports, investigative files and other documents” from the Metropolitan Police Department related to the illegal prostitution market in Las Vegas and surrounding areas.
Metro, the paper reported, has “responded with endless rounds of arguments, obfuscation and outright refusal” to provide those records.
“Metro takes the position,” notes RJ editor Glenn Cook, “that the public doesn’t need to know how it enforces laws intended to combat a growing national problem with devastating consequences for young victims.”
What is Metro trying to hide by not releasing illegal prostitution arrest records?
It’s a mystery.
The RJ has had to sue Metro in its efforts to obtain these public records. And last August the district court judge hearing the case said it “boggles my mind” that the police department has been blocking the records’ release, noting that Metro “has not complied or even come close to compliance” with the state’s public records law.
Perhaps Sens. Hardy and Spearman would be better advised to pass a law forcing Metro to disclose what it’s doing to combat the illegal sex trade rather than focusing on the comparatively non-existent problems in Nevada’s legal brothels.
By the way, the name of the district court judge is Joe Hardy Jr.
Sen. Hardy’s son.
5.) On a far more cheerful and positive note
Reporter Amy Alonzo of the Fernley Leader-Courier did a story on Phil Wooley, a graphic artist employed by the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel in Lyon County.
It’s a wonderful story about how Phil is preparing to donate one of his kidneys to a man who was a complete stranger to him just a few short weeks ago.
“(W)hen he heard fellow Dayton resident David Mickelsen needed a kidney transplant,” Ms. Alonzo reports, “Wooley underwent tests to see if he was a match – and he was.
“In the seven years Mickelsen has been battling kidney failure, Wooley was the first possible match,” Ms. Alonzo continued. “Mickelsen has been on dialysis for five years for kidney failure, and he also suffers from a benign brain tumor that, despite an operation and radiation, still affects him.”
And his time is running out.
Testing continues and is in the final stages…but so far, so good. The surgery could happen very soon. Fingers crossed. This story deserves a happy ending!
That said, it’s simply unconscionable that while Phil is risking his own life to potentially save David’s life, by the time they both recover in about six months Phil could be out of a job thanks to Sen. Hardy’s bill.
Think about that.
Mr. Muth is Government Affairs Counsel to the Nevada Brothel Association