Prostitution is legal in Nevada but not in Las Vegas. According to NRS 244.345, a Nevada county whose population is less than 700,000 may choose to license a brothel. There are 16 counties in Nevada, and 7 of them allow legalized prostitution. Las Vegas is not eligible to have legalized prostitution because it is located in Clark County, whose population is more than 2.2 million people. Prostitution is also illegal in Reno, Nevada.
Legalized prostitution is a highly regulated industry in Nevada. There are approximately 20 licensed brothels operating throughout the State. This means that exchanging money for sex is legal so long as it occurs within the brothel. Despite the fact that there are two brothels located just over an hour from Las Vegas, you will not see ads for prostitution in Las Vegas. It is illegal to advertise a brothel in a county where prostitution is illegal. NRS 201.440.
Further, all sex workers who work at a licensed brothel must undergo STD testing at least once per week for certain STD’s and at least once per month for AIDS. NAC 441A.880. Additionally, Nevada law requires the use of condoms during nearly all types of sexual contact at all brothels. NAC 441A.805.
Although brothels are legal in Nevada, some critics maintain that women are trafficked from working legally in the brothels into working as a prostitute illegally in Las Vegas.
Nevada law defines sex trafficking in NRS 200.300(2) as follows:
(a) Is guilty of sex trafficking if the person:
(1) Induces, causes, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a child to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
(2) Induces, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a person by any means, knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress or coercion will be used to cause the person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
(3) By threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress, coercion, by any device or scheme, or by abuse of any position of confidence or authority, or having legal charge, takes, places, harbors, induces, causes, compels or procures a person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
(4) Takes or detains a person with the intent to compel the person by force, violence, threats or duress to marry him or her or any other person; or
(5) Receives anything of value with the specific intent of facilitating a violation of this paragraph.
Sex trafficking affects all races and genders. The traffickers use methods such as force, violence, isolation, threats against the victims, threats against family members, and nonconsensual (forced) drug use to lure and keep their victims compliant.
Some estimates claim there are about 5,600 male, female, and child sex trafficking victims in the State of Nevada, but the Nevada Coalition to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children estimates that there was approximately 5,687 child victims of sex trafficking in Nevada. The FBI has named Las Vegas as one of 13 High Intensity Child Prostitution Areas. https://impact-nv.org/human-trafficking.
Resources for victims
Many forces have joined to fight this modern-day enslavement and help the victims recover. Private companies, such as Lyft have offered drivers special training to spot victims of human trafficking. Refuge for Women is a nationwide program with a Las Vegas chapter that is dedicated to assisting survivors of sex trafficking. Their website can be viewed here. https://www.rfwlasvegas.org/
The Nevada Attorney General has issued a resource guide for victim which can be accessed here.
To view a comprehensive guide for identification and access to underage victims of sex trafficking, click here. https://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/LasVegas_PrinterFriendly.pdf
If you are a victim, are searching for a victim, or have a loved one you think is being victimized, the 24 hour National Human Trafficking Hotline (888)373-7888 or you can text 233733. Or you can live chat on their website. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/state/nevada
Criminal Prosecutions and Restitution
Sex trafficking can be prosecuted federally or by the State. You can get damages for your injuries in both the state and federal criminal courts, and there is no fee or cost for you to do this, but you should consult an attorney skilled in this area so he or she can make sure you get all of the money you are entitled to under the law.
Restitution in Nevada Criminal Prosecutions
Sex trafficking is prosecuted under NRS 200.300(2). As part of a State criminal prosecution, the court can order a wide variety of restitution under NRS 201.325. This law allows a court to order victims or their surviving children get the following damages:
1. The cost of medical and psychological treatment, such as rehabilitation and occupational therapy and physical therapy
2. Transportation, child care, and temporary housing;
3. The cost of relocation expenses to get away from the defendant or his cohorts so long as law enforcement deems it necessary for the victim’s safety;
4. The return of any property or the value of the property if it is lost or damaged beyond repair.
5. Costs associated with moving the victim back to the his or her country, if applicable.
Please note that these damages are within the State judge’s discretion to order; therefore, you should consult someone as soon as possible to gather your evidence and make sure it is presented properly to the court. Also, only specific statutes contain these restitution provisions, so your input can be critical to making sure your abuser is prosecuted under the correct law that allows for this type of restitution.
Restitution in Federal Prosecutions
Restitution is mandatory in federal criminal trafficking cases under the Mandatory Restitution Act of 1996 which can be found at 18 USC Section 1593 and 18 USC Section 2259(b)(3). These losses include are similar to the State damages and include:
1. Medical services relating to psychiatric, psychological or physical medical care;
2. Physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation;
3 Necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child care expenses;
4. Lost income;
5. Attorneys’ fees, as well as other costs incurred; and any other damages.
If you have questions about this article, feel free to contact me for help. I can be reached at (702) 940-1234.