Originally Published at Associated Press
By Ken Ritter
A national advocacy group and a Nevada lawyer have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit aimed at convincing a judge the nation’s only legal brothels are dens of illegal sex trafficking and unconstitutional slavery.
The case filed Friday in Las Vegas by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation names the governor, state attorney general and city and county officials as defendants, along with a brothel in Nye County and hip-hop music figure Jamal “Mally Mall” Rashid.
The lawsuit seeks to abolish Nevada’s legal prostitution statutes as unconstitutional and a violation of federal anti-trafficking laws. It asks the court to order reimbursement to victims of “all profits and unjust enrichment obtained as a result.”
Plaintiffs Angela Williams and Jane Doe claim they were defrauded and coerced for years in Nevada’s legal sex industry, including escort agencies, strip clubs and the brothel about 60 miles outside Las Vegas.
In a statement about the lawsuit, National Center on Sexual Exploitation attorney Christen Price said Nevada’s legal prostitution system “inherently contributed to the sex trafficking of these plaintiffs for both the benefit of sex buyers who flock to Nevada and for the profit of Nevada and its tourism industry.”
“Compelling someone to engage in prostitution violates federal law, which bans sex trafficking, including coercing people into commercial sex acts,” she said.