New Book – Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections

The Guardian writes about Melissa Farley’s new book, Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections, in its 9/7/07 article, “It’s like you sign a contract to be raped”.

Dr. Farley established Prostitution Research & Education in 1995. She is a research and clinical psychologist and author of 25 peer-reviewed publications on sexual violence, prostitution and trafficking. Prostitution and Trafficking is on sale at Lulu, and is described as follows:

Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada addresses the scope of the sex industry in Nevada, including human rights violations against women in the Nevada legal brothels. The book describes how the multibillion-dollar illegal sex industry in Las Vegas works. Sex trafficking from within and outside of the US, advertising for prostitution, political corruption, pornography, organized crime and the constant demand of men for paid sex – all contribute to prostitution and trafficking in Nevada.
Some claim that problems in the sex industry stem primarily from the fact that parts of it are illegal, or that it’s stigmatized. Nevada’s experience, however, suggests that even when prostitution is legal and widely accepted, it’s still a terrible job. The Guardian writes:

There is only one place in the US where brothels are legal, and that’s Nevada… There are at least 20 legal brothels in business now…

The brothel prostitutes often live in prison-like conditions, locked in or forbidden to leave…

The rooms all have panic buttons, but many women told her that they had experienced violent and sexual abuse from the customers and pimps…

…[a] pimp told Farley matter-of-factly that many of the women working for him had histories of sexual abuse and mental ill-health. “Most,” he said, “have been sexually abused as kids. Some are bipolar, some are schizophrenic.”

…The women are expected to live in the brothels and to work 12- to 14-hour shifts…

Farley found that the brothel owners typically pocket half of the women’s earnings. Additionally, the women must pay tips and other fees to the staff of the brothel… One former Nevada brothel worker wrote on a website: “After your airline tickets, clothing, full-price drinks and other miscellaneous fees you leave with little. To top it off, you are … fined for just about everything. Fall asleep on your 14-hour shift and get $100 [£50] fine…

More than 80% of those interviewed told Farley they wanted to leave prostitution…

Meanwhile, illegal brothels are on the increase in Nevada, as they are in other parts of the world where brothels are legalised. Nevada’s illegal prostitution industry is already nine times greater than the state’s legal brothels. “Legalising this industry does not result in the closing down of illegal sex establishments,” says Farley, “it merely gives them further permission to exist.”

The detractions of prostitution appear to be invisible to many of Nevada’s political and commercial interests. As Bob Herbert writes in The New York Times:

…[Las Vegas] mayor, Oscar Goodman…told me in an interview that the city would reap “tremendous” benefits if a series of “magnificent brothels” could be established to cater to johns from across the country and around the world…

Child prostitutes by the hundreds pass through the Family Division courtroom of Judge William Voy, who views the hapless, vulnerable girls as victims and tries to help them. The girls he sees are as young as 12, with the average age being 14…

Prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada but not in Vegas, where 90 percent of the state’s prostitution occurs. Vegas is a world-class embarrassment to any U.S. official attempting to reduce prostitution and trafficking in foreign countries…

There are more than 150 pages of ads in the Las Vegas yellow pages for “college teens,” “mature women,” “mothers and daughters,” “petite Japanese women,” “Chinese teens in short skirts” and every other variation imaginable…

Huge numbers of foreign women are trafficked into Vegas…

The Arizona Republic seconds Herbert’s sentiments:

When New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote about the exploitive underside of prostitution in Las Vegas, Sin City Mayor Oscar Goodman responded by saying he’d like to take a baseball bat to Herbert.

That response should put to rest any remaining arguments about the prevalence of violence in a culture built on a deep disrespect for human dignity…

Las Vegas Family Court Judge William Voy told the Las Vegas Sun that 70 percent of the juvenile prostitution cases he deals with involve children who came from out of state. What’s more, most of them worked as prostitutes in their home states.

Teen girls do not “choose” a whore’s lifestyle because it is so glamorous. They are coerced, raped, beaten and controlled by pimps who take advantage of their youth and play off a popular culture that glorifies sex as something women are supposed to deliver on cue…

This is not about empowered women…

The contents of Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada include:

Foreword by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

1 Introduction and Findings

Legal Brothel Prostitution in Nevada

Pimp Subjugation of Women by Mind Control

Johns in Legal and Illegal Nevada Prostitution

Trafficking for Legal and Illegal Prostitution in Nevada

Illegal Escort and Strip Club Prostitution in Las Vegas

Domestic and International Trafficking for Prostitution and Organized Crime in Nevada

The Role of Cab Drivers in Las Vegas Prostitution

Political and Judicial Corruption and the Nevada Sex Industry

It’s the Advertising, Stupid!

Pornography, Prostitution, and Trafficking in Nevada

Barriers to Services for Women Escaping Nevada Prostitution and Trafficking

Attitudes toward Prostitution and Sexually Coercive Behaviors of Young Men at the University of Nevada at Reno

Adverse Effects of a Prostitution Culture on Nonprostituting Women

Conclusion: Legalization of Prostitution, a Failed Social Experiment

Appendix A.
Legal Status of Prostitution by Each of Nevada’s 17 Counties in 2007

Appendix B.
Advertising Estimate Details


See also:

SuicideGirls: “Legalized Prostitution: Apparently Not So Great for Women”
I’ve made the pro-legalization argument myself in the past. But further thought, and a little bit of experience, has made me think that while women prostituting themselves should be decriminalized–that is, prostitutes, who are usually pretty desperate women, shouldn’t be arrested simply because they are trying to make money by selling sex–soliciting prostitutes, whether as a pimp, madam, or john, should be more heavily criminalized than it currently is. Not only for moral reasons, though it’s obviously appalling to profit or derive sexual pleasure from someone else’s desperation, but also for practical ones. Soliciting prostitutes clearly endangers and exploits women; it presents a public health hazard, not only through disease but also through violence and abuse; and I think it’s undeniable that commercializing sex is dehumanizing; it effectively turns the women (and occasionally men) who provide it into objects themselves, to be traded and sold.

Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations
Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%…

Pimps target girls or women who seem naive, lonely, homeless, and rebellious. At first, the attention and feigned affection from the pimp convinces her to “be his woman.” Pimps ultimately keep prostituted women in virtual captivity by verbal abuse – making a woman feel that she is utterly worthless: a toilet, a piece of trash; and by physical coercion – beatings and the threat of torture. 80% to 95% of all prostitution is pimp-controlled…

About 80% of women in prostitution have been the victim of a rape…

In a study of 475 people in prostitution (including women, men, and the transgendered) from five countries (South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Zambia)…  92% stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately…

A Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography concluded that girls and women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average…

In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals…

Prostitution Research & Education: How Prostitution Works
Real sexual relationships are not hard to find. There are plenty of adults of both sexes who are willing to have sex if someone treats them well, and asks. But there lies the problem. Some people do not want an equal, sharing relationship. They do not want to be nice. They do not want to ask. They like the power involved in buying a human being who can be made to do almost anything…

The Guardian, “Eradicate the oldest profession”
Those hoping to see the government support decriminalisation of brothels will be disappointed by the Home Office review, as will those advocating tolerance zones. Where such zones have been tried they have failed. One zone in Melbourne resulted in street prostitution increasing fourfold. In Amsterdam drug dealing, trafficking and violence towards the women and customers in the zone led to it being closed in 2003…

Sweden’s Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn’t Anyone Tried This Before?
In 1999, after years of research and study, Sweden passed legislation that a) criminalizes the buying of sex, and b) decriminalizes the selling of sex…

Prostitution is a form of male violence against women. The exploiter/buyers need to be punished, and the victim/prostitutes need to be helped. The Swedish government appropriated the funds for the country’s police and prosecutors, from the top ranks down to the officer on the beat, to be given intensive training and a clear message that the country meant business. It was then that the country quickly began to see unequaled results.

Ask the Valley Advocate to Stop Profiting from the Sexual Exploitation of Women
Over the past several months, we have delivered to the Advocate’s offices at Eastworks volumes of information about the link between escort ads and prostitution, the harms of strip clubs, and the fact that New York Press just decided to walk away from adult advertising. We have relayed our concerns directly to editor Tom Vannah. We have received no response. The ads continue. We invite you to join us in asking the Advocate to cease facilitating this business. Contact them here.

New Competitor to Craigslist Rejects Ads for “prostitution services and other questionable listings”

“Trade – A Film Brings Sex Trafficking Home”
…screenings were held in advance of opening weekend, one hosted by New York City’s local chapter of the National Organization for Women. At that event, NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio emphasized that trafficking is a part of the local economy, and described how individuals could make a difference by, for example, appealing to publications to stop publishing ads for unlicensed “massage parlors.” She also identified glaring inequities that the state law fails to address – for example, the prosecution and dep
ortation of victims while “johns” face only a fine and are permitted to expunge the crime from their records.

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps

New York Times: The Girls Next Door; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn

Ricky Martin Campaigns Against Child Sex Trafficking

The Guardian: Josephine Butler, 1828-1906 – “A heroine for our age”
…she was Britain’s first anti-prostitution campaigner and remains one of our greatest social reformers…

…Butler is an important figure who advocated on behalf of women considered to be “scum” – prostitutes and other “fallen women” – and challenged men’s right to sexual access to prostituted women and children. She achieved huge social and legal reforms in her own lifetime at a time when women did not even have the right to vote…

…Butler appealed to the government not to license brothels, arguing that the state should never profit from the misery of women…

“Butler would find the discussions on prostitution as ‘sex work’, and the normalisation and expansion of the sex industry today very odd,” says [feminist historian Jane] Jordan. “She would want to know how we could have gone backwards after the huge strides forward she achieved”.