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Lawsuit seeks to close legal brothels in US state of Nevada

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Anti-trafficking activist Rebekah Charleston (Photo via YouTube)

A federal lawsuit has been filed in the US in an effort to close legal brothels in the state of Nevada.

Filed by anti-trafficking activist Rebekah Charleston, the lawsuit takes on the state legislature and Nevada Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Apart from abolishing legal prostitution in the Silver State, the lawsuit seeks to create a $2 million fund to help women quit sex trade.

According to law, counties with fewer than 700,000 residents are allowed to host legal brothels.

The lawsuit demands that brothels in Elko, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Storey and White Pine counties be announced unconstitutional.

‘Sex work: Just a euphemism’

Charleston was allegedly sex trafficked herself by two pimps in the 2000s.

“Something needs to be done,” Charleston said. “Because of the fact that I was trafficked inside the brothels, I just have to stand up and say, ‘No more.’ Women are not public, sexual property to be bought and sold.”

According to the 28-page lawsuit, she was “not permitted to turn down a sex buyer,” and was sent to the brothels as a “form of punishment” by her pimps.

She was later sent to Las Vegas “for greater profits in the illegal sex trade.”

“Prostitution is inherently gender-based violence, and there is no way to perform prostitution in a safe way,” Charleston said. “The term ‘sex work’ is a euphemism that makes it sound like something it’s not.”

Meanwhile, the brothels are moving to petition against the lawsuit.

"Every single worker at the Mustang Ranch is required to undergo an FBI fingerprint and criminal database background check every single year," brothel owner Lance Gilman told KOLO TV. "In over 4,000 work card applications filed over the last 20 years by working professionals and employees at the Mustang, not one has turned up to be a victim of trafficking."

According to attorney Jason Guinasso, who tried to ban brothels last year, there are prospects for illegalization of the brothels.

“We’ve got increased public awareness leading to community action,” he said.

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