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Two alleged sex trafficking survivors are suing the state of Nevada, arguing that it violated the 13th Amendment by profiting from the illegal sex trade in the state.

announced on Monday, court case Notably the name of the state’s Attorney General and Governor Steve Sisolak, along with several counties and private entities.

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which is prosecuting on behalf of alleged survivors, is asking a district court to declare state and local laws legalizing prostitution unconstitutional. This includes escort services and county ordinances that license legal brothels.

“Nevada’s legal prostitution system has naturally contributed to the sex trafficking of these plaintiffs to the benefit of sex buyers who come to Nevada and to the benefit of Nevada and its tourism industry,” said Kristen Price, senior legal counsel for the National Center for Nevada. sexual abuse.

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“Plaintiffs were subject to violence, threats, and other forms of control by sex trade profiteers, which is exactly what the Thirteenth Amendment forbids. Ultimately, these Nevada defendants must be held accountable for enabling this abuse.”

Government Sisolak’s office declined to comment. The Attorney General’s office did not respond to Granthshala News’ request for comment. According to NCOSE, there were four new federal sex trafficking lawsuits in the state in 2020. In 2020, US Attorney Nicholas A. trutanich announced That state had more than $65 million in federal Justice Department grants available to fight human trafficking.

An NCOSE victory could create potential problems for other state laws on prostitution, although the lawsuit presents the situation in Nevada as particularly dire.

Part of NCOSE’s argument rests on the idea that legalized prostitution is correlated with an increase in sex trafficking. study from London School of Economics (2013) And Harvard University (2014) also found that countries with legal prostitution tend to have higher levels of human trafficking. The NCOSE lawsuit alleges that Nevada brothels knowingly employed trafficking victims and engaged in coercive activities such as preventing prostitutes from leaving the premises.

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Plaintiffs “Jane Doe” and Angela Williams are also currently using federal anti-trafficking laws to attempt to sue on behalf of trafficked individuals. State and county authorities, he argues, benefited from the jurisdiction’s “reputation as a legal refuge for sex”.

The NCOSE lawsuit comes amid a broader push to make prostitution non-regulated or non-criminal in the United States. Last week, California lawmakers approved a bill that would criminalize travel for the purposes of prostitution. Meanwhile, Texas recently passed legislation making solicitation of prostitution a felony.

However, Nevada is the only state where prostitution is legal. Prostitution is technically illegal in Las Vegas, although NCOSE alleges that it is “more sham than reality” because the city allows “legitimate escorts and escort bureaus”. The University of Nevada in Las Vegas previously reported that the state ranked ninth in sex trafficking in the US in 2017, with 199 cases.

Rhode Island also decriminalized prostitution between 1980 and 2009, providing a case study for researchers seeking to determine the effects of decriminalization. NCOSE pointed to Wake Forest Law review Article Arguing that decriminalization spurred a rise in prostitution and hindered law enforcement.

Advocates of de-criminalization generally argue that it gives women the right to live as they see fit. open society foundation, led by billionaire George Soros, argues that non-criminalization promotes safer working conditions, reduces the risk of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and helps prevent abuse.

“When sex work is made free of crime, sex workers can push for safe working conditions and use the justice system to redress discrimination and abuse,” the group says. “Sex workers are more likely to live without fear of stigma, social exclusion or violence.”