Trafficking/Prostitution

Nevada’s Legal Brothels Are Coercive Too

In Aboriginal Women's Action Network, prostitution, sex work, SexTrade101, Stella Marr on 2012/04/22 at 12:29 am

human trafficking, prostitution, stella marr, surviors connect, martha nussbaum, rachel lloyd, sex work, sex industry, feminism, sex positive, nevada brothel

Survivors Connect member Stella Marr participated in a  New York Times “Room for Debate” entitled “Does Legalizing Prostitution Make it Safer,”  alongside Rachel LloydChika Unigwe, Max WaltmanNorma Ramos & Martha Nussbaum.

Here’s what she said:

Well-meaning people who’ve never been commercially sexually exploited often think that legal brothels will protect the women in prostitution from pimps and violent johns. They are mistaken.

In the 10 years I worked in New York City’s sex industry, where the pimps were part of organized crime and could follow through on any threat, I met many women who’d experienced Nevada‘s legal brothels. They all preferred the New York sex industry.

Women who worked in Nevada’s legal brothels said they were like prisons where you have to turn tricks. Rimmed with high-security fencing and an electronic gate, they can look like a detention camp. The women live in lockdown conditions and can’t leave the premises unless they’re accompanied by a male pimp. Living and working in cramped, dark rooms, they’re on call 24 hours a day. This is what happens when the law protects people who profit from commercial sexual exploitation. It’s the ideal business model. It’s the best way to get a woman to turn as many tricks as possible.

Most of the women I knew in the brothels and escort services, had a history of trauma and abuse. I was homeless at the time I entered the life and, had multiple sclerosis. That vulnerability makes them even more easily victimized by pimps. And pimps don’t stop being pimps when you legalize what they do. If we legalize brothels we’ll only be giving these predators more power, while we help them protect their cash.

As the prostitution survivor and activist Natasha Falle has said, “Where there’s high-track prostitutes, escorts, strippers and masseuses; there’s pimp violence.”

Read the full debate here.

  1. [...] Nevada’s Legal Brothels Are Coercive Too (survivorsconnect.wordpress.com) [...]

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