(Kourtney Chase) – Before I get into why I oppose the new “lockdown” part of the proposed Nye County brothel ordinance I want everyone to know a little background information about me.
I’m 26 years old and have worked in Nye County brothels since 2015. I have worked at all of them, including Sheri’s Ranch, Love Ranch and Alien Cathouse. I currently work at Chicken Ranch.
I am also a survivor of sex trafficking who started working in the legal brothel system to escape arrest and the violence I faced in the illegal industry.
In 2015 I was arrested for “promoting prostitution as a business.” I was facing a felony and 10 years in prison for simply running a website that helped the women I worked with stay safer by teaching them how to screen their clients.
I was lucky I had money for a lawyer. I was lucky they dropped my felony down to a misdemeanor. And at that point I decided I wanted to try to work legally in Nevada because I’d just escaped 10 years in prison.
I am scared to death to escort independently, especially due to the fact that I have several prostitution charges on my record already. Once you have a record for prostitution, in my experience, it feels like you’re automatically guilty when you get arrested.
If you work in a group for safety, you get arrested for “promoting prostitution” or “brothel keeping.” I already beat one felony; I refuse to face another. I cannot risk jail time with a 2-year-old.
I honestly think I’d rather get assaulted or raped by a guy perpetrating a client than to deal with being arrested and going to jail again. At least if I lived through the assault I could come home to my son at night.
Trafficked at 13
I have a long history of getting arrested as a juvenile and as a young adult.
As a 13-year-old victim of kidnapping and sex trafficking by a pimp I was sent to a juvenile facility because I was a prostitute rather than being reunited with my family, which was worried sick because I had been missing for weeks.
This arrest started an ongoing cycle of running away, prostituting myself to survive, getting caught and going back to jail. What if they had tried to offer me services instead of throwing me away into a juvenile facility? How different would my life be right now?
I am a product of my environment and this country’s messed-up legal system. I was a child who was never given a fair chance. And quite frankly, I feel like I did the best I could in my circumstances.
That being said, my criminal record, combined with having PTSD, would make it very difficult for me to get/maintain a different “regular” job. Plus, I am not a quitter. I take pride in the fact that I used the cards dealt against me to prosper in life.
I am using sex work to get to where I want to be. I am saving money to be able to open my own business, buy property, and invest in stocks. Everything I have in my life I gained through sex work.
I chose this as a temporary job and a major tool in helping me change my life for the better. But some women choose working in brothels as their careers and love their work. I believe every voice is valid and that the beauty of this industry is you meet people from all different walks of life.
I came to work in Nevada’s legal brothels because I wanted to follow the law and do the right thing.
Having my son two years later made me even more determined to keep on going and not give up on this opportunity to do what I know how to do best – legally, without having to fear for my life or freedom every day.
Yes, I have gained freedoms by working in brothels. But freedoms have also been taken from me by restrictive lockdown rules.
I am tired of staying silent about the stigma and discrimination we face. This new proposed ordinance – confining courtesans the brothel premises for 10 days at a time, with only one 6-hour window to leave – is a slap in the face to survivors of sex trafficking like myself.
“I know you’re here trying to do the right thing, but you’re still not good enough. You’re still a dirty whore. You still need a chaperone to keep an eye on you because we can’t trust you. You don’t deserve to see your child every night.”
This is exactly how this new proposed brothel ordinance feels to me. Locking us down like we are in a “Pussy Prison” (as us courtesans call it) is just unacceptable and has to violate my constitutional rights somehow!
I support decriminalization, but I currently feel Nevada’s legal system is the best, safest option available to me in my current circumstances. I prefer legalization to criminalization ANY DAY!
I have been in the sex industry for over 10 years and I have never felt as safe as I do in Nevada’s brothels. BUT that does not mean there isn’t room for changes to the conditions we are faced with in order to be able to work safely.
We should not have to trade freedom for safety.
I already gave up my entire childhood being locked up instead of given the real help I needed. Please don’t lock me up at my place of work like a prisoner. I’ve had that happen enough in my life. My son deserves to be able to have his mother come home every night.
The Public Health Myth
The idea that this “lockdown” policy is in the best interest of public health is just plain nonsense. I can easily have a quickie in the back seat of my car within six hours and get an STD. Locking us down does not prevent STDs from being spread.
The mandatory use of condoms, female condoms, and dental dams are how we prevent STDs, not locking down adult women working a LEGAL job that pays a high percentage of Nye County’s tax revenue.
I am a mother of a 2-year-old boy. I HATE that I’d have to be here for 10 days (minimum) at a time. I’m a human being and my son deserves to be able to have his mother come home every night.
Nobody is trying to lock down porn stars, who are statistically shown to have a higher rate of STDs than Nevada’s brothel courtesans.
“Sexually transmitted infection rates among legal prostitutes are negligible, the report said, because brothel workers in Nevada are required by state law to use condoms and are tested weekly for disease. Since those rules went into effect in Nevada, there have been no cases of HIV infection, and their infection rates were negligible, the report said.”
Nobody is going after people ages 15 to 24. Nobody is going after women on Tinder having repeated one-night-stands and not using condoms. Or any other population of people who statistically have a higher rate of STD transmission.
So why are we being locked down – especially when we are educated about sex more than the general population?
We use protection all the time – unlike most people in relationships, people having one-night-stands and illegal escorts that offer unprotected services. Half the time I’m teaching my clients things they didn’t know about sexual safety.
I’m a grown woman who is perfectly capable of following the rules without being locked away like a prisoner.
“Public health” is simply not a good enough explanation to justify why I should have to be locked down on the brothel property; not allowed to leave, like I’m a prisoner; having to be away from my son for 10 days at a time.
Borasky’s Zoo Animals
Despite some media that has been put out this far, it was not brothel owners or brothel managers that initiated this change in the proposed ordinance.
From what I’ve been told, it was former Commissioner Butch Borasky – the same commissioner brothel owner Dennis Hof had a lawsuit against – who initiated this change a year ago before Dennis passed away.
Dennis is the reason they’re changing the ordinance, they say. He broke a lot of rules, they say.
I say – so what?!! I say he was fighting for the right thing. I say we should be able to do out-dates. I say we should not be on lockdown. I say we should be able to advertise. All the rules they say he broke – all he was doing was standing up for what he believed in.
That man is a legend and did more for the brothel industry than anybody in history. And as I’m writing this, almost a year after his passing, I just want to say, “Thank you Daddy D.” I still remember and honor you to this day.
Borasky wanted to completely take away our current one day out AND our 24-hour emergency passes – keeping us confined to the brothel property like animals in a zoo. Both Chicken Ranch, as well as Sheri’s Ranch, had their lawyers present to fight to get us the six hours out and the 12-hour emergency pass.
I just want to give the brothel owners and managers a little more credit than what has been given.
There are still a lot of brothel policies I do not agree with. But I believe the information being put out there should be correct and credit should be given where credit is due. And at the end of the day the commissioners are the ones who will make the final decision, not the brothel owners.
That is who I hold responsible.
If You Don’t Like It, Leave!
I wish Nye County was more like Lyon County, where the courtesans can come and go as they please; where they are not treated like walking diseases and kept away from their families.
I get asked all the time, “Why don’t you go work in a county that isn’t lockdown?” But it’s not as simple as that.
#1: I have a “possession of an illicit substance” charge on my record and apparently you cannot have any “possession of illicit substance” charges in the past five years in order to obtain a sheriff’s work card in other counties.
The “illicit substance” was marijuana. And even though marijuana is now legal in the state of Nevada, it is still being held against me. I got the charge in Utah, so there’s really no hope of getting it expunged.
#2: I live locally in Las Vegas. So Nye County brothels are the closest to where I live. Why should I have to go work in a different county just to have basic human rights?
Some people ask, “Why don’t you get a ‘real’ job?”
Well, this IS a real job, which has been legal in Nevada for many years – since before I was born, and possibly before my mom was born. I should not have to justify my choice, especially considering my job is legal.
There are many reasons I choose to stay in this industry, only some of which I shared with you here. My question is:
Why, in 2019, do we have to beg for basic human decency?
Every single sex worker who works in Nye County brothels has a family, friends and a life outside of work. To lock us away like we are dirty prisoners who can’t be trusted is just plain wrong.
I urge the Nye County commission to remove ALL government lockdown policies in the brothel ordinance.
To learn more and find out how you can join us in opposing this proposal, please visit www.stoplockdown.org
Ms. Chase is a professional legal courtesan at the Chicken Ranch brothel in Nye County. Her views are her own.