By providing legal cover for the sex trade, Nevada is directly violating the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. States cannot create conditions that allow slavery or involuntary servitude to flourish—including in the form of sex trafficking.
The NCOSE Law Center’s lawsuit representing survivors seeks to hold the state of Nevada accountable for protecting prostitution and profiting from it.
The Lawsuit Against Nevada, Explained
Nevada—a state which continues to profit from and provide legal cover for the sexual exploitation of women—has been hit with a lawsuit brought by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center and Jason D. Guinasso with Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC, on behalf of sex trafficking survivors.
In the United States, it is believed that prostitution generates over $14 billion in revenue yearly and five billion of that comes from Nevada. Nevada has legalized prostitution in certain counties, and benefits from the tourism driven by the belief that prostitution is legalized everywhere. So, not only does the state of Nevada provide the commercial sex industry with legal cover, it also profits from the sexual exploitation of women.
Here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit against Nevada, as well as information on how you can help hold the state accountable for profiting from the sexual exploitation of women.
What happened to the plaintiffs who are suing the state of Nevada?
As a child, during a vulnerable time, Angela Williams encountered a man who became the first of many to sell her to commercial sex buyers. Ms. Williams was attending college in Houston and working two jobs to support herself when she was introduced to her first sex trafficker before she was even 18. Williams was groomed and forced to perform sexual acts on commercial sex buyers once she turned 18.
Ms. Williams was eventually able to break free of her sex trafficker, but ended up at a strip club in Houston where she met another violent sex trafficker. She escaped again but was soon trapped again in the state of Nevada. There, Ms. Williams was sexually abused, exploited, and trafficked time and again. Ultimately, Ms. Williams would be trafficked in Nevada from 2006 to 2017.
Doe was introduced to the world of sex trafficking in Las Vegas by a family member who promised her it was a “quick and easy” way to get money.
Plaintiff Jane Doe was subjected to extreme violence, starvation, and torture while being sex trafficked in Nevada from 2013 to 2018. Jane Doe eventually ended up at a legal brothel in Nevada, where she was subjected to debt bondage and other forms of coercion.
Why bring a lawsuit against the state of Nevada?
The right to be free from slavery is a basic human right that Nevada denies many. Angela Williams and Jane Doe’s experiences are not isolated.
The sexual exploitation of women for profit happens every single day in Nevada and it has long attempted to normalize and profit from the regulation of prostitution in its state. The demand of commercial sex buyers is extremely high and Nevada pulls in profits of around $5 billion annually from the commercial sex trade.
The commercial sex industry directly subjected Ms. Williams and Jane Doe to slavery and involuntary servitude in the form of sex trafficking, due to Nevada’s system of regulated prostitution.
By providing legal cover for the sex trade, Nevada is directly violating the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment makes it so that states cannot create conditions that allow slavery or involuntary servitude to flourish—including in the form of sex trafficking.
What is the desired outcome of the lawsuit against the state of Nevada?
The plaintiffs are dealing with the repercussions of trauma and physiological damage and are seeking accountability and justice for the state of Nevada for protecting prostitution and profiting from it.
We know these two plaintiffs are not the only survivors who have been sexually exploited for profit thanks to the state of Nevada. Through this lawsuit, survivors are taking a stand and shining a light on the dark side of regulated prostitution with which Nevada is complicit. It is clear that the state of Nevada is profiting from sexual exploitation and that it will continue to do so if left unchallenged.
Who is helping survivors bring this lawsuit against the state of Nevada?
The legal team representing Angela Williams and Jane Doe consists of:
- Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC
- National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center
You can learn more about the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center here.
How can I help support the lawsuit and be part of holding the state of Nevada accountable?
Survivors need all the support they can get to take on this multibillion-dollar sexually exploiting business happening in the state of Nevada. Please consider sharing this blog and the graphics below on social media with a message about the harms of full decriminalization of the commercial sex trade. The injustices happening in Nevada can only stop once buyers feel accountable for the harm that is done.
EDITORS NOTE: This National Center on Sexual Exploitation column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.