October 8, 2020

STATEMENT – Nevada’s Legalized Prostitution Violates Thirteenth Amendment, Holds Women and Girls in Sex Slavery

NCOSE Law Center Will Argue on Behalf of Two Sex Trafficking Survivors in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 9

Washington, DC (October 8, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) Law Center will be arguing that Nevada’s pro-prostitution law conflicts with federal laws that ban sex trafficking and violates the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on any form of involuntary servitude. The case, Charleston v. State of Nevada, will be argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec 9, 2020. The NCOSE Law Center has been named co-counsel with Nevada-based attorney Jason Guinasso of Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC.

“Nevada is violating the Thirteenth Amendment by creating conditions that enable slavery in the form of sex trafficking and involuntary sexual servitude. Our plaintiffs, Bekah Charleston and Angela Delgado-Williams were sex trafficked due to Nevada’s system of legal brothels and are seeking to hold the state responsible for protecting the sex trade and enabling slavery,” said Christen Price, legal counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, who will argue the case with Mr. Guinasso.

“Federal anti-trafficking laws are predicated on the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on involuntary servitude, enacted after the Civil War. It prohibited the states from re-establishing new forms of servitude through abusive economic practices. Yet this is what Nevada’s legal scheme is producing:  vulnerable women and girls are commodified and held in sexual servitude.”

Plaintiff Bekah Charleston was a 17-year-old runaway who came under the control of her trafficker who swiftly brought her from Texas to Nevada to be sold in Las Vegas and into a brothel. She was held in virtual captivity in a Nevada brothel, regularly raped, and forced to perform sex acts upon fear of beatings and other abuse. Plaintiff Angela Delgado-Williams is a survivor who has a similar story of being preyed upon, lured, abused, controlled, and then eventually sex trafficked in Las Vegas. Read more about the plaintiffs’ stories at NotSafeForWomen.com.

“These survivors have sued the state of Nevada for creating the sex trade environment that makes this abuse not only possible, but virtually certain. Nevada’s sex tourism industry thrives on the demand that Nevada’s legal scheme has bolstered. As a result, women and girls are brought to Nevada across state lines to be prostituted and trafficked, in blatant violation of federal law,” Price continued.

“Legal prostitution and sex trafficking are inextricably linked in Nevada as elsewhere in the world where prostitution is legal. Sex trafficking happens when and where there is a demand for prostitution.

“This lawsuit seeks an order that will void any county ordinances licensing brothels; invalidate the state law permitting prostitution; and provide exit services and resources to women prostituted through Nevada’s legal brothels.

“We hope that our survivor plaintiffs receive some measure of justice, and that their case would ultimately pave the way for other girls and women to escape Nevada’s sexual slavery scheme,” Price concluded.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center offers survivors of pornography-related abuse a way to seek justice. More information can be found at: https://sexualexploitationlawsuits.com/.

The legal briefs can be found at NotSafeForWomen.com.

Further Reading