(Chuck Muth) – Last year, the Nevada Legislature commissioned an interim study committee to look into the working conditions of prostitutes.
Unfortunately, the committee – as reported recently by Ricardo Torres-Cortez of the Las Vegas Sun – won’t be looking into this heart-wrenching situation…
“The man beat, berated, choked, sprayed with Mace, and prostituted the teenage victim. Once, when he rented a hotel room and she couldn’t get a ‘John,’ he forced her head under water in a bathtub as punishment.
“Another time, after she told Brandon Lamar Pruitt she was raped by a client, he ‘punched and hit her repeatedly because she did not know her cross streets and ‘allowed’ her own rape,’ Nevada prosecutors wrote in federal court documents.”
Torres-Cortez notes that the average age of similar victims of sex trafficking in Las Vegas is…14.
“Those are kids who should be in middle school,” lamented Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney for Nevada who successfully prosecuted Pruitt.
So why isn’t the legislative study committee looking into the brutal and violent “working conditions” of sex-trafficked teens in Las Vegas?
Because the bill authorizing the committee limited the scope of the study to only the working conditions of commercial sex workers in Nevada’s legal brothels.
And brothels are NOT legal in Las Vegas – despite the erroneous belief by some that it is. In fact, legal brothels are only licensed in a handful of Nevada’s rural counties.
Not Las Vegas. And not Reno. Where the REAL problems are.
Indeed, trafficking underage teen girls in Nevada’s legal brothels is all but impossible since everyone must undergo an FBI background check and apply for a sheriff’s card to work there. The only way someone underaged can work in a legal brothel is if they lie about their age and somehow fool the FBI with fake documents.
Sadly – some might even say outrageously – the Legislature decided to only investigate and study the working conditions in Nevada’s legal brothels where adult women, of their own free will, CHOOSE to work in a safe and lawful environment.
Where they don’t have to fear being beaten, choked, sprayed with Mace or water-boarded by a violent street pimp.
Where they don’t have to fear going into a stranger’s car or hotel room and never coming out.
Where the don’t have to fear reporting assaults, rapes and other crimes without incriminating themselves.
Where they don’t have to fear contracting a sexually transmitted disease since weekly testing and condom use is mandatory.
Where they don’t have to fear anyone taking their earnings other than the tax man at the IRS.
The working conditions in Nevada’s rural legal brothels are NOT the problem.
The REAL problem is on the mean streets of Las Vegas and Reno.
If Nevada legislators really want to help improve the working conditions of commercial sex workers, they’d stop wasting time on the safe, licensed and regulated brothel operations in Elko, Lyon, Storey and Nye counties and focus on where the REAL problems are.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government grassroots advocacy organization, and government affairs counsel to the Nevada Brothel Association. His views are his own.