Brothels – when we hear the word, we usually think of old school, European saloons from the olden days where women served mead and had sex with men. However, in more modern times, we still have brothels. While prostitution is illegal in most of the world, Nevada, a state in the United States famous for Las Vegas, is infamous for allowing legalized prostitution. However, this legal prostitution does have limits to where and how sex can be sold. It’s very important that tourists know and respect these rules.
How long have brothels been legal in Nevada?
Brothels date as far back to the 19th century, during the mining times. While the legal sale of sex was banned widely in the 20th century, vagrancy and streetwalking ban limited prostitution beyond their indoor brothels. After the Civil War, movements against prostitution and brothels took place. In the early 1900s, a series of laws were passed, punishing those who profited from women in brothels. However, Nevada was an exception. Brothels still maintained open operations and were tolerated for decades, even if not technically legal. In 1971, the first sanction for the Mustang Ranch took place, making it the first legal brothel in the state. This was a monumental moment for sex workers.
Where is it legal in Nevada?
The laws in Nevada make prostitution prohibited anywhere other than a licensed house of prostitution, also known as a brother. State laws do ban brothels in counties that have 700,000 or more in population, which is Clark County. Clark County is where Las Vegas sits. This means that there are only 10 counties that allow prostitution, and again, these are only within the licensed brothels. Some counties have their own rules – for example, Churchill County is not giving any more licenses. Esmeralda, Lander, Mineral, Nye, and Storey county allow brothels anywhere, and Elko, Humboldt, Lyon, and White Pine county only allow brothels within certain communities that are incorporated.
Counties like Clark, Washoe, Carson City, Douglas, Eureka, Lincoln, and Pershing have banned prostitution.
So exactly how many operational brothels are there?
In 2018, there were around 20 operational brothels in Nevada. Dennis Hof owns around 6 of these brothels.
How does taxation on brothels work?
While brothels and prostitutes must pay state licensing fees for their business, there is no additional tax on sex acts. However, in 2009, a Democratic senator did try to introduce a bill to tax customers buying prostitution services. This tax could have created 2 million dollars in revenue, but failed the committee vote. The general population is very divided on whether this is a way to prevent brothels, or just a way to nod to the fact that brothels are legal as a whole in the state. Not everyone is happy about legal prostitution.
How are brothels able to market themselves?
The state of Nevada laws prevent brothels from advertising in other areas of the states where prostitution is not legal. This includes billboards, theaters, or any signage on highways. Many individual prostitutes at the brothels have successful social media accounts that allow them to advertise themselves. The new age of social media allows brothel workers to be more successful by having their own websites and marketing tools at their fingertips.
Is there an average cost?
Most brothel workers negotiate their rates, and they have a menu for customers to choose from. Typically, a worker will negotiate and accept payment before the service is provided. This ensures that they receive their money and the cost is not a surprise. There are many services, from overnight stays, dates without sex, and girlfriend experiences, to a simple one and done. Brothel workers can also choose to host and accept parties that offer a lot of income in a short time. While most brothel workers have their minimum price, they do negotiate and are amicable to this, but not always. It is important to remember that this is a service and their time! Being respectful to workers is a top priority and allows for a healthy relationship and a more enjoyable experience for both of the parties involved. Plus, you can get banned for nonpayment or rude attitude.
How much do prostitutes make?
This can depend on the brothel itself. Some may keep half of the earnings, while others may keep less or more. However, they still have to pay for rent, food, and other costs. Prostitutes also must pay for weekly STD tests, and registration cards for sex workers. That cost varies by county. Since they are independent workers/contractors, they have no benefits and must pay taxes like a 1099 employed or independent contractor.
Do brothels promote revenue?
This answer also varies by county. Some counties may charge large licensing fees depending on the size of the brothel. These fees and taxes go towards public expenses like police forces, EMTs, public schools, road work, and etc. Some counties collect half a million dollars in revenue, while some collect far more or far less. This also depends on how many brothels there are in the county, and how many sex workers are at each.
Is there an age requirement?
Again, this will vary by county. Some counties are allowing brothel workers to be legal at 18 years old, and some must be 21 years old.
Do brothel workers enjoy their lives?
Many prostitutes have written about their lives in brothels and what it’s like. It seems to depend on the person. Sex work is a hard life, but can be rewarding financially. Education on what they go through and why they choose this profession is imperative to make that judgment call. Some can make a lot of money, and become financially independent. Some choose to do it part-time on top of another job for extra income.
The rundown on brothels:
Prostitution and brothels often seem like an outdated concept, but it’s still holding a place in our world today. Those who choose to work in brothels and frequent brothels all have their own reasons, own lifestyles, and have made those decisions based on what they want in life.