Despite public perception, prostitution in Nevada is not illegal. Prostitution is a form of trespass; therefore, laws regarding “possession of a controlled substance” do not apply to prostitution. The law instead focuses on crimes of “knowingly soliciting or procuring a person for sexual conduct”. If you are arrested for solicitation or procurement of a sexual act, you may be taken to jail. However, prostitution is not a crime in Nevada. State law does not proscribe the public’s freedom of speech or its free choice in engaging in sexual activity, including the purchase of an erotic service, or the hiring and management of a commercial sex worker.
The Las Vegas Police Department made this clear in an internal memo to its personnel. “While we believe that most legitimate businesses operating within our borders will abide by our anti-prostitution statutes, we recognize that some ‘back doors’ may exist,” the internal memo said. The word back doors was an apparent reference to prostitution houses, which police often stopped and searched. “There are many back doors,” the memo continued. “legal brothels.” This approach is also used in neighboring states, where police can legally enter a business if they suspect it is operating illegally. That allows police to enter and conduct sting operations where they can detain workers if they are there illegally.
Nevada’s prostitution law makes no mention of police being allowed to enter and search a business without first determining if it is legal. The prostitution act only says business owners may not prohibit their employees from working. So, the door is left wide open for police to arrest people who are in the act of prostitution, even if they are operating a legitimate business. That is one of the reasons why Nevada’s legal brothels remain closed.
A loophole in the law makes it possible for police to enter and search a home if they have a reasonable suspicion that a woman is in prostitution. This means police can enter a home when women are not home and look around or inside. It is this vague language that leads to police officers arresting people for crimes they did not commit-even if they are on probation, or parole or are involved in a civil lawsuit against a former employer.
State and local governments in Nevada are partially to blame for the overuse of this loophole in the law. Most cities and counties passed laws requiring brothels to be licensed and maintained. However, none of these laws specify what constitutes legal prostitution. The confusion over what prostitution is has led to police arresting people on suspicion of prostitution even when they were not engaged in the act. The loophole in the law is being abused by law enforcement officials who are more interested in cracking down on other types of crime.
When prostitution is legal, it can be quite easy for law enforcement officials to mistake a patron for someone who is engaged in unlawful activities. This can cause many innocent people to be placed in jail for months or years based on the mistake of police officers. Unfortunately, many women have been harmed because they were misinterpreted as prostitutes. This has led to an overabundance of legal brothels, which often lead to violence against them. Even worse, there is no protection from assault, which can result in the death of the patron. This is why the closure of all Las Vegas legal brothels is necessary for the safety of its residents.
There is hope, though. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is currently working on a bill that would make it illegal for someone who operates a commercial sex trade to enter or remain in a hotel or motel used for prostitution. It is expected that this new legislation will close all of the Las Vegas brothels within three years.
Hopefully, this will bring a stop to all of the violence and abuse that happens in those locations. The closure of all of the Las Vegas legal brothels is only one step toward providing safety for the women of Nevada. The issue still remains that many women are being coerced into having sexual relations in order to survive in a very hostile environment. Legal brothels should not be a part of that equation. After all, these establishments were opened just to help people who really need it, and have helped countless women in the process.