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Nevada brothels reopen after long hiatus, sex workers look forward to return to work

The front entrance to the Chicken Ranch brothel
April 30th, 2021 - 3:00am
Clients will once again be able to solicit the company of legal sex workers at Nevada’s brothels as owners open the doors to their establishments this weekend after being shuttered for more than a year — longer than virtually all other businesses — because of the pandemic.

Court rules against petition to reopen brothels, which have been shut down for nearly 10 months

January 8th, 2021 - 3:26pm
In a setback for efforts to open the doors to Nevada brothels, a Lyon County judge denied Bunny Ranch sex worker Alice Little’s petition in her lawsuit against Gov. Steve Sisolak’s closure order.

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Legal sex worker sues Sisolak, wants state to reopen brothels or allow sex workers to work from home

October 30th, 2020 - 4:57pm
A licensed sex worker in Nevada is suing Gov. Steve Sisolak over what she calls the “unconstitutional” decision to keep the state’s legal brothels closed even as other businesses resume operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevada Recovery Dashboard

As the state’s economy continues its recovery, The Nevada Independent will track the most important economic indicators across the state on this page, including unemployment numbers, gaming revenue and housing prices.

As Nevada’s legal brothels remain closed, sex workers think bias is at play

Photo of the interior of the Mustang Ranch
October 26th, 2020 - 2:00am
Services allowing physical contact around the state have been allowed to resume service, with tattoo shops, estheticians, and massage parlors open since May. Women who work in Nevada’s legal sex industry say they feel they’re being ignored not because of the risk their business poses but because of a bias against their industry.

Reno City Council targets illegal prostitution with new city ordinance on massage businesses

February 14th, 2020 - 2:00am
Under the new regulations, operators of massage establishments in the city will be required to obtain an FBI background check and have a manager present during operating hours. Businesses are also no longer allowed to have an on-site ATM, tinted exterior windows, or recording devices in treatment rooms.

Vegas' Trac-B harm reduction center aims to make sex work safer

Christina Parreira at Trac B office
January 30th, 2020 - 2:00am
"We wanted people to have the opportunity to talk about violent situations, and anything bad that may have happened to them, so we could give them tips and pointers on how to prevent those things from happening again,” Cheatom said.

Brothel fights for records after state classifies sex workers as employees, not independent contractors

Bunnies at play sign
January 13th, 2020 - 11:13am
A brothel protesting that the state has classified sex workers as its employees rather than as independent contractors — a change that could mean the brothel owes a large sum to the state’s unemployment insurance fund — is now arguing over public records before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Federal court dismisses lawsuit seeking to end brothel industry

The front entrance to the Chicken Ranch brothel
October 31st, 2019 - 9:44am
A lawsuit that aimed to eliminate Nevada’s legal brothels has been dismissed by a federal court judge who rejected the notion that it conflicts with federal laws.

At Mustang Ranch open house, Gilman says he wants ‘better respect’ for brothel industry

Photo of the interior of the Mustang Ranch
August 27th, 2019 - 2:00am
Recent media coverage and controversy prompted Mustang Ranch owner and land developer Lance Gilman — who has kept a lower profile than the reality TV star Hof — to “throw the doors open” to his Storey County brothel last week. Gilman said he invited the media to create a sense of transparency into his business and legal prostitution overall.

Licensing board director says prostitution at massage parlors is pervasive but hard to prevent

August 12th, 2019 - 2:00am
Anderson believes that among the nearly 1,000 licensed establishments in the state, about 25 in the Reno area and 150-200 in the Las Vegas area may be fostering illegal prostitution or sex trafficking activity. In spite of those high numbers of suspicious businesses, she points to just two that have been shut down. 

Indy Q&A: U.S. Attorney Nick Trutanich on sex trafficking, marijuana and public corruption

Nicholas A. Trutanich, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada and Ray Johnson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
August 7th, 2019 - 2:00am
One of the faces at the forefront of efforts against human trafficking is Nick Trutanich, U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada, whose office is tasked with investigating such cases. The Nevada Independent caught up with Trutanich at the seminar to discuss the challenges of those prosecutions, as well as his office’s priorities on marijuana enforcement and public corruption cases.

Anti-sex trafficking organizations release video targeting Nevada's legal industry

May 23rd, 2019 - 6:15pm
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has released a video attacking — and calling for an end to — Nevada’s decades-old legal prostitution industry.

Autopsy: Brothel owner, Assembly candidate Dennis Hof died of natural causes

Dennis Hof sits between two women
March 28th, 2019 - 4:12pm
An autopsy report released Thursday indicates Hof, 72, died of natural causes — specifically “acute myocardial infarction due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.” It notes that diabetes and obesity were also significant factors, and a toxicology report found caffeine, Viagra and the active ingredient in marijuana in his blood.

Senate introduces bill to ban brothels in Nevada

March 21st, 2019 - 4:20pm
“We have a lot of sex trafficking that uses that as a cloak,” Spearman said about why she signed on to the bill. She also said there were other potential legal models aside from what Nevada has, pointing to the Nordic model, in which prostitution is decriminalized but buying sex is a crime.

Nevada lawmakers propose study on working conditions, oversight of legal brothels

The front entrance to the Chicken Ranch brothel
March 13th, 2019 - 1:36pm
The resolution, ACR 6, was introduced on Wednesday. Democratic sponsor Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen declined immediate comment on why she’s bringing the bill forward.

Police say they're losing battle against massage parlors that are fronts for illegal prostitution, ask for stronger law

March 13th, 2019 - 2:20am
Even when police and city officials see telltale signs that women are living full-time in massage parlors and working illegally as prostitutes, it can be a near-impossible task to get victims to testify against the people who are profiting from them and shut the business down once and for all, officials told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Former lawmaker James Oscarson plans to apply for Assembly seat won by deceased brothel owner Dennis Hof

November 7th, 2018 - 6:25pm
Oscarson told The Nevada Independent he plans to submit his application on Thursday. He was first elected in 2012 and represented the district for three terms before losing an ugly primary against Hof this year.

Sex workers make case for saving brothels as Lyon County voters weigh ban

October 23rd, 2018 - 2:05am
At an educational forum about a potential Lyon County brothel ban, there was a moment of silence for Hof, who died in his sleep last week. He was a polarizing figure whose name will still appear as a Republican Assembly candidate on the November ballot, and one who raised the profile of brothels through an HBO reality show.

Lyon County: A third of prostitutes registered in 2017 had red flags of possible human trafficking

Dennis Hof sits between two women
October 19th, 2018 - 2:15am
The possible trafficking indicators were among the findings Sheriff Al McNeil presented Thursday at the Lyon County Commission meeting as part of an internal audit into his agency’s procedures for registering prostitutes. It comes as Lyon County voters are considering an advisory question on their ballots that could lead to a brothel ban.

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The Nevada Independent will track the most important economic indicators across the state on this page.

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