The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has released a video attacking — and calling for an end to — Nevada’s decades-old legal prostitution industry.
The two-minute video features women who say they were held hostage, sold for sex or trafficked as children in Nevada, where brothels are legal in select sparsely populated counties. It comes several months after a woman who says she was sex trafficked through a Nevada brothel filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s legalized sex industry.
The woman at the center of that lawsuit — Rebekah Charleston — opens the video with a blistering assessment of the situation: “I have a message for any woman listening: Nevada is not safe for women.”
The video goes on to describe Nevada’s history of legalized prostituion and, much like the federal lawsuit, alleges that it bolsters the illegal sex market.
“Inequality, poverty and abuse drives women into prostitution,” Charleston says in the video. “In order to abolish sex trafficking, we must eliminate the demand for prostitution. To put it candidly, we must stop any system that condones buying human beings for sex.”
Several organizations seeking to combat sexual exploitation — Valiant Hearts, Awaken, Exodus Cry and World Without Exploitation — were also involved with releasing the video.
In April, the Nevada attorney general filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit, rejecting the assertion that legal brothels create a conflict between state and federal law. Earlier this week, the plaintiffs filed an opposition to the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Jason Guinasso, the Reno-based attorney representing Charleston and the other plaintiffs, said the state is required to file a reply by May 28. That will be followed by a court hearing and decision about whether the case can proceed, he said.