WASHINGTON, DC (August 31, 2022) – A lawsuit against Las Vegas strip club Sapphire (dubbed as the “world’s biggest gentleman’s club”) and Nevada brothel Chicken Ranch has been allowed to proceed by the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada.
In the lawsuit filed by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center (NCOSE) and Jason Guinasso, an attorney with Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC, the plaintiffs, Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, are seeking to hold the defendants responsible for protecting the sex trade and enabling sex slavery, in violation of the 13th Amendment and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The lawsuit also asserts the rights of those who are currently being sex trafficked in Nevada, and because of this, are unable to protect their own rights.
“In a significant ruling, our plaintiffs have won the right to have their case heard, marking the first time a federal judge has permitted sex trafficking claims to proceed against a prominent Nevada brothel and the ‘world’s biggest gentleman’s club.’ Coerced prostitution is rife in these legal entities, and under federal law it is sex trafficking. The plaintiffs deserve justice: their rights under the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, have been clearly violated,” said Christen Price, senior legal counsel at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“It is notable that our clients’ claims against the Chicken Ranch are allowed to move forward, as there are implications for Nevada brothels more broadly. The Chicken Ranch’s conduct is standard operating procedure for Nevada brothels, so it is likely that sex trafficking is happening at other brothels throughout the state and is therefore illegal under federal law,” said Jason Guinasso, attorney at Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC.
Plaintiff Jane Doe #1 was sex trafficked in Nevada by multiple pimps, including one that forced her to engage in street prostitution in Las Vegas. Doe was also exploited in legal brothel prostitution at the Chicken Ranch in Nevada. Doe was subjected to debt bondage while prostituted at the Chicken Ranch, while under the control of other pimps.
Plaintiff Jane Doe #2 was sex trafficked in Nevada through legal strip clubs, including the Sapphire Gentleman’s Club. Jane Doe #2 engaged in commercial sex acts at Sapphire, induced through force, fraud, and coercion from her pimps/sex traffickers, and through fraud and coercion from Sapphire, which employed a system of fees and tipping that caused her to remain in debt to them.
The third plaintiff, Angela Williams, also received an entry of default against her trafficker and his various escort and other business entities. Ms. Williams was sex trafficked in Nevada through legal escort businesses. Originally groomed into prostitution and then trafficked in Houston, she was eventually exploited by a Las Vegas-based licensed escort business, VIP Entertainment, owned by Jamal Rashid. Rashid, also known as “Mally Mall,” was a hip hop producer. Rashid is currently serving a federal sentence for unlawfully owning and operating a prostitution business. He and his business entities failed entirely to respond to the complaint and are now in default.
The court’s ruling dismissed the government defendants, Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada, Aaron Ford, Attorney General of Nevada, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, NV, and Nye County, NV, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue them. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center and Mr. Guinasso have requested the court’s permission to appeal this ruling.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center offers survivors a way to seek justice. More information can be found at: https://sexualexploitationlawsuits.com/. The legal briefs and more details about the plaintiffs’ stories can be found at NotSafeforWomen.com.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.