Nevada Named Sexually Exploitive State

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Nevada Named to the Dirty Dozen List as

U.S. State Leader of Sexual Exploitation

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – Due to Nevada’s sanction of organized sexual exploitation—that is, its legalized system of prostitution—it has been named to the 2019 Dirty Dozen List, which identifies 12 leading mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation. The Dirty Dozen List is a project of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation—a nonpartisan nonprofit located in Washington, DC, dedicated to addressing the full spectrum of sexual exploitation. Nevada is the first-ever state to receive the ignominious distinction of placement on this List.

Nevada is the ‘poster state’ for sexual exploitation in America,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “As the only U.S. state in which prostitution is legal in certain counties, Nevada legally sanctions male sexual entitlement. Its sexploitation industry has a predatory dependence on women with economic disadvantages, as well as childhood histories of neglect and sexual abuse. Moreover, exchange of money or something of value to obtain a sex act is inherently an act of sexual coercion.

“Additionally, Nevada’s normalization of prostitution as ‘work’ for women has turned Nevada into a magnet for sex traffickers, who are kept in business through the demand generated by prostitution tourists (i.e., sex buyers).

Legalized prostitution in Nevada has led to an increase (not a decrease) in the state’s illegal sex trade. In fact, Nevada has the biggest illegal sex trade in the country, adjusted for population—63% larger than the next highest state of New York and double that of Florida. Further, police found that 30% of women in so-called legal brothels in Nevada had red flags for sex trafficking.”

“States and local communities profiting from prostitution (e.g., by tourist revenues), like pimps, are complicit in sexual exploitation. In the Age of #MeToo it’s time for Nevada to join the 21st century by recognizing that sexploitation is not a woman’s job,” Hawkins concluded.

Decades of research confirms that the vast majority of those in prostitution (whether legalized, unregulated, or criminalized) experience, both the constant threat of and high rates of, sexual violence and even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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