CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A bill introduced in the Nevada Senate on Thursday seeks to ban the nation’s only legal brothels by outlawing prostitution.
Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy said brothels have no place in Nevada and attract women with few economic options who get stuck in an abusive industry. Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman also signed on as a sponsor of the legislation, saying the legal bordellos can disguise sex trafficking.
The Democrat said there are other options for those in the industry and mentioned to the so-called “Nordic model,” which decriminalizes the selling of sex but not the buying of sex.
Sex workers and brothel backers have promised to fight the Nevada measure. They argue a ban would hurt struggling rural economies and drive women out of a regulated environment and into dangerous street prostitution.
The industry also faces a legal challenge from a woman who reports she was forced into prostitution at a legal brothel.
About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. The bordellos are outlawed in Washoe and Clark counties, which represent the state’s two main population centers.
The legislation comes even as similar bans have failed. Efforts last year to outlaw prostitution in two counties where Nevada’s flamboyant pimp, Dennis Hof, operated bordellos failed.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen has also introduced a resolution for an interim study on the health and well-being of workers at the legal brothels.