Sex Trafficking & Coercive Tactics in Nevada Brothels


It’s important to recognize that literal force and fraud are not the only ways people end up in the sex trade. Psychological coercion from an being pimped/trafficked at an early age or early experiences of needing to rely on “survival sex” can prime an individual to remain stuck in the sex trade, believing that it is beneficial for them.

Further, legal brothels typically employ coercive tactics to control the women.

One survivor of 10 years in prostitution told the New York Times,

Women who worked in Nevada’s legal brothels said they were like prisons where you have to turn tricks. Rimmed with high-security fencing and an electronic gate, they can look like a detention camp. The women live in lockdown conditions and can’t leave the premises unless they’re accompanied by a male pimp. Living and working in cramped, dark rooms, they’re on call 24 hours a day. This is what happens when the law protects people who profit from commercial sexual exploitation. It’s the ideal business model. It’s the best way to get a woman to turn as many tricks as possible.

Most of the women I knew in the brothels and escort services, had a history of trauma and abuse. I was homeless at the time I entered the life and, had multiple sclerosis. That vulnerability makes them even more easily victimized by pimps. And pimps don’t stop being pimps when you legalize what they do. If we legalize brothels we’ll only be giving these predators more power, while we help them protect their cash.

Further, women in brothels are pressured into having sex with customers or sometimes even brothel owners.

In one of the late Dennis Hof’s legal brothels in Nevada one woman told another, “Well, you want Daddy to like you. You won’t have a very good time if he doesn’t, so if he wants you to [have sex with him], you definitely should.”

Sex Trafficking

One report noted:

About a third of the prostitutes who were issued work cards for Lyon County legal brothels last year had red flags on their application that should have been investigated further for possible human trafficking issues.

“This audit has exposed real weaknesses and gaps in the sheriff’s office ability to detect and deter foreign and domestic human trafficking into licensed brothels in Lyon County,” the sheriff’s presentation said…

Sheriff’s officials said the audit was prompted by public records requests for prostitute work card applications, and is the product of about 75 man hours.

The report noted a variety of red flags in the backgrounds of applicants that might suggest trafficking and should warrant further investigation. They included frequent moves, applying soon after moving into the U.S. and a criminal history related to illegal prostitution that might suggest they still are at the behest of a pimp.

Another report notes:

The audit also states that a “large majority of prostitutes report instability of residences and extensive criminal records that indicate property and other quality of life type crimes. Again, these are indicators for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.” The audit said “at a minimum, 83 prostitutes” positively indicated that they were part of human trafficking.


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