Oh, Nevada.
By: Mary Hunton

Of all the states I’ve been to, I’ve got to say that I am completely and utterly in love with my own. Nevada is simply the single coolest state in the country, hands down. We’ve got sagebrush, crazy weather patterns, some of the world’s worst drivers, and, you guessed it, more sagebrush. There’s no denying it, the Silver State leaves much to be desired when it comes to predictable summers (why the hell is it still so cold!?) and green shrubbery, but what it lacks in pleasant aesthetics it makes up for in badass laws.

Nevada gets a lot of crap for being the only state with legalized prostitution and gambling, and our gun and alcohol laws appall the more “sophisticated” states, but clearly everyone else is looking at things in the complete wrong way. Prostitution is nothing more than a profession and gambling doesn’t hurt anyone but the poor sucker throwing all of his money into the slots. Making guns harder to buy won’t stop people from being shot and keeping alcohol confined strictly to liquor stores is doing nothing but making alcoholics drive a little bit further for their fill.

I’ve been through a good few states, and being from Nevada always gives me a little bit of an edge. I can’t even accurately describe the horrified looks I’ve gotten when, upon being asked if I’ve seen a prostitute, I not only say yes, but proceed to explain where the actual brothels in Elko are. It gets even worse when I then tell them how if one were to go to the clinic on Friday, more than half of the people in the waiting room are, in fact, prostitutes waiting for their mandatory weekly check up.

“That’s disgusting!” they tell me.

“No,” I say. “That’s a way of life.”

Of course prostitution isn’t the most ideal way to live life, and no little girl in Nevada grows up and actually aspires to be a hooker when she grows up. It’s more the fact that she can if she needs to that makes it acceptable. It’s her body. If she wants to sell it she has absolutely every right to.

The same goes for gambling. The casinos basically keep Nevada’s economy alive, and if people want to put their money in on it there is no reason they shouldn’t. It’s not like it hurts anyone other than themselves in the long run (and sometimes it pays off. I won’t lie, I love it when my parents hit it big–they get really generous and slip some into my bank account without telling me). Not to mention, let’s face it, if gambling was really such a horrible thing, would over thirty million people visit Las Vegas every year for it? I didn’t think so.

But just because Nevada is the only state with legalized prostitution and gambling doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen elsewhere. The lottery, for example, is still a form of gambling, and Indian reservations around the country have hopped onto the casino bandwagon. Prostitution is also country wide. Just because it’s not legal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Girls sell themselves off on the streets all the time under the nose of the law. And people think it’s a bad idea to keep prostitutes under a safe roof with regulations as to who can and cannot see them?

Let’s face it: Nevada certainly isn’t the most ideal place by any means, but where is? For all intents and purposes, Nevada’s got its head in the game. Not many other states think it’s okay for you to do what you want with your body or your money. At least we’ve got that one right!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
21 Comments Posted in Libertarianism, Local/Nevada
Tagged , ,
  • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

    Way out in the land of the setting sun,
    Where the wind blows wild and free,
    There's a lovely spot, just the only one
    That means home sweet home to me.
    If you follow the old Kit Carson trail,
    Until desert meets the hills,
    Oh you certainly will agree with me,
    It's the place of a thousand thrills.

    Home means Nevada
    Home means the hills,
    Home means the sage and the pine.
    Out by the Truckee, silvery rills,
    Out where the sun always shines,
    Here is the land which I love the best,
    Fairer than all I can see.
    Deep in the heart of the golden west
    Home means Nevada to me.

    Whenever the sun at the close of day,
    Colors all the western sky,
    Oh my heart returns to the desert grey
    And the mountains tow'ring high.
    Where the moon beams play in shadowed glen,
    With the spotted fawn and doe,
    All the live long night until morning light,
    Is the loveliest place I know.

    Home means Nevada
    Home means the hills,
    Home means the sage and the pines.
    Out by the Truckee's silvery rills,
    Out where the sun always shines,
    There is the land that I love the best,
    Fairer than all I can see.
    Right in the heart of the golden west
    Home means Nevada to me.

  • Mary Hunton

    I actually googled the lyrics to this song before I posted this blog and considered trying to weasel in some of the words, but I decided that was waaay too much trouble.

  • http://www.unrforliberty.com Travis Hagen

    I agree completely with the second half, but Nevada is such a dust bowl, it's like an endless desert wasteland… I would kill to go somewhere else!

  • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

    You are a disgrace.

  • Liz Parker

    Nice post Mary.

    By making these sort of things illegal, it makes even worse things happen. Take my state for instance. Did you know Nashville has one of the biggest sex-slave trades in the country?

    Transparency creates honesty. Secrets breed darker secrets.

  • Mary Hunton

    Wow, really? From what I saw of Nashville I wouldn't have guessed that at all. There is a church on every other corner!

  • Jacob K

    Nevada is also one of the largest centers of human trafficking in the U.S., Las Vegas is primarily a center for Southern California and the rest of the Southwest, while Reno is used for Northern California, the rest of the Nortwest and some of the Midwest. Don't think for a second that just because we're “transparent” about parts of our sex trade that it decreases the illegal parts.

    Also the idea that “Prostitution is nothing more than a profession…” is absurd. The rate of drug addiction, suicide, murder, and various other psychological disorders and traumas among prostitutes, legal or otherwise, are very high. Also, many “legal” prostitutes are not necessarily willing prostitutes and are often trapped in the “profession” due to debt to pimps. This debt is often caused by drug addiction, which the pimps are more than willing to feed.

    I'm sure there are some women out there who are happy being prostitutes and mostly abide by the law, but there are far more who are stuck in it and have no choice but to continue working.

  • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

    So how does making prostitution illegal improve their condition?

  • Jacob K

    Although I'm unsure of whether or not illegalization of prostitution would improve the prostitutes condition, it would remove the facade of legitimacy that is given to the trade. And more specifically it would remove the ability of pimps to call themselves “businessmen” or “entrepreneurs” as if they were legitimate.

    My main issue is with the statement that “Prostitution is nothing more than a profession…”. Prostitution is rape in exchange for money, legalizing it produces the idea that it is somehow a legitimate occupation.

    P.S. By pimps I do not refer only to men with purple hats, but also to “madams” of brothels and other various persons in charge of prostitutes. Just because women run the brothels doesn't mean they don't mistreat the prostitutes below them.

    • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

      Jacob I completely agree with you up to point. Many time prostitution includes rape, exploitation, and the overall mistreatment of young women. I would even go as far to agree that the business of human trafficking is bolstered by prostitution. Such cases are sad and it greatly sickens me.

      However, to prohibit the activity of prostitution is equivalent to prohibiting the activity of operating a motor vehicle. The activities involved in driving cause death, property destruction, a plethora of bodily damage, and even road rage. The symptoms of what you described of prostitution: rape, enslavement, exploitation, and mistreatment are already illegal – and justly so. The same goes for operating a motor vehicle: speeding, reckless driving, DUI are already illegal – and justly so (in this example). You see, it should not be the activity in which people freely choose to do that which is prohibited – that is unjustified, impossible, and not conducive to a free society. Instead, it should be the sporadic consequences produced by the activity.

      This type of prohibition expands to drug laws, gambling laws, alcohol laws, and others. To prohibit the activities of individuals which may result in negative consequences will create a world that is similar in nature to that of an iron cage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588881237 Anonymous

      Jacob I completely agree with you up to point. Many time prostitution includes rape, exploitation, and the overall mistreatment of young women. I would even go as far to agree that the business of human trafficking is bolstered by prostitution. Such cases are sad and it greatly sickens me.

      However, to prohibit the activity of prostitution is equivalent to prohibiting the activity of operating a motor vehicle. The activities involved in driving cause death, property destruction, a plethora of bodily damage, and even road rage. The symptoms of what you described of prostitution: rape, enslavement, exploitation, and mistreatment are already illegal – and justly so. The same goes for operating a motor vehicle: speeding, reckless driving, DUI are already illegal – and justly so (in this example). You see, it should not be the activity in which people freely choose to do that which is prohibited – that is unjustified, impossible, and not conducive to a free society. Instead, it should be the sporadic consequences produced by the activity.

      This type of prohibition expands to drug laws, gambling laws, alcohol laws, and others. To prohibit the activities of individuals which may result in negative consequences will create a world that is similar in nature to that of an iron cage. Would the legalization of prostitution legitimatize the act? It shouldn’t. Instead, it legitimizes the freedom of choice and liberty each individual is born with.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588881237 Anonymous

      Jacob I completely agree with you up to point. Many time prostitution includes rape, exploitation, and the overall mistreatment of young women. I would even go as far to agree that the business of human trafficking is bolstered by prostitution. Such cases are sad and it greatly sickens me.

      However, to prohibit the activity of prostitution is equivalent to prohibiting the activity of operating a motor vehicle. The activities involved in driving cause death, property destruction, a plethora of bodily damage, and even road rage. The symptoms of what you described of prostitution: rape, enslavement, exploitation, and mistreatment are already illegal – and justly so. The same goes for operating a motor vehicle: speeding, reckless driving, DUI are already illegal – and justly so (in this example). You see, it should not be the activity in which people freely choose to do that which is prohibited – that is unjustified, impossible, and not conducive to a free society. Instead, it should be the sporadic consequences produced by the activity.

      This type of prohibition expands to drug laws, gambling laws, alcohol laws, and others. To prohibit the activities of individuals which may result in negative consequences will create a world that is similar in nature to that of an iron cage. Would the legalization of prostitution legitimatize the act? It shouldn’t. Instead, it legitimizes the freedom of choice and liberty each individual is born with.

  • Mary Hunton

    Actually, Prostitution is only legal in counties in Nevada with a population of 400,000 or less, which means Clark county (the county that Las Vegas is in) does not condone legal prostitution, and Washoe county made prostitution illegal under municipal law. I also didn't say that every single case of prostitution in Nevada is legal. There are illegal sex trades everywhere, to be sure, and not every prostitute goes through a brothel. My statements were more directed at those that did.

    And you stated that “legal” prostitutes are not necessarily willing, but in order to be legal whatsoever they must be in brothels. Pimping is illegal, point blank, so if a prostitute is in debt to a pimp she is clearly not legal, which makes that argument blatantly incorrect. The way payment works in a brothel is different than “pimping,” and a portion of the prostitutes earning goes to the house. She is considered an independent contractor, and can quit any time she wants to.

    My no means am I saying that all prostitutes enjoy it. No one always likes their job, and half the time people fall into a profession that they would never want to do. This happens a lot for teachers–many teachers are only such because their original plans backfired and they had to rely on a fall back plan. I mean, really, who would want to teach for a living when you're underpaid and disrespected?

    Mostly what I'm saying is that I respect Nevada's decision that a woman's body is hers to do with what she will. Most of the arguments against prostitution are moral, and I don't think this is really a question of morality. Regardless, let's look at it this way: we are never going to get rid of prostitution. It's the world's oldest profession and I have a feeling it's also going to be the world's longest-lived. Prohibition certainly didn't work, why do we expect keeping prostitution illegal to do the same?

  • Jacob K

    I understand that prostitution is Illegal in the two Nevadan cities I mentioned. However, the high rate of human trafficking is not due to the illegality of prostitution in those areas but due to the fact that those are the largest metropolitan areas. My point in mentioning those two areas is to explain that just because prostitution is legal in Nevada doesn't keep the further illicit practices, such as sex-slave trade, from occurring, rather it encourages it.

    Just because they do not call themselves pimps, does not mean they are not pimps. The “house” as you call it, is simply a person, or group of people, who organize a group of women for the purpose of prostitution and provide protection and a place to work, in exchange for a portion of the profit. If this is not a clear definition of a pimp, I do not know what is. Calling it a “house” is just another attempt to legitimatize the trade.

    You also state that the women are “…considered an independent contractor, and can quit any time she wants to.” This sounds all well and good but is also completely false when actually applied. As I have stated before, many of these women have drug addictions and dependencies as well as other vices. The pimps will often act as a drug dealer as well. So the pimp takes approximately half of the prostitutes income to begin with for “rent”, he then further acquires her income through sale of illegal substances leaving her with little money. In the end the prostitute is dependent on the pimp monetarily and for illegal substances and is unable to “quit any time she wants to.” This is a very common method for keeping a prostitute indentured to a pimp.

    Your comparison of a prostitute's dislike of her job to a teacher's dislike of her job is both ridiculous and overly simplistic. It is not common for a teacher to be beaten by a student because their teaching was not up to par, or for a teacher to rip their genitalia or contract a venereal disease in the course of work, or to have been dealt immense psychological trauma. This is the problem with saying prostitution is just a profession, the statement makes it sound like it is any other 9 to 5 job. Its not, and should never be categorized as such.

    You further claim that: “…we are never going to get rid of prostitution… …Prohibition certainly didn't work, why do we expect keeping prostitution illegal to do the same?” By that logic our prohibition of murder certainly hasn't worked since murders still occur regularly. So furthering your logic should we legalize and license murder? Just because the government fails to prevent all instances of a crime is not reason to legalize it.

    And I stand by my statement that “Prostitution is rape in exchange for money.” The women are not consenting until they are paid. And they need to be paid in order to continue paying their pimps, continuing to further their addictions, and to continue making a livelihood.

  • Mary Hunton

    The sex-slave trade is completely different from prostitution. Prostitutes, as I've stated before, are willing. No matter what way you look at it, you cannot deny that. In the sex-slave trade the women are completely unwilling, being sold to slavery. You aren't looking at it in respect to individual human rights. The difference between the two is that prostitutes choose it, whereas sex slaves do not. Therein lies the difference, hence the problem.

    Isn't your claim much the same in other professions, though? Prostitutes are not the only people in the world with drug addictions who need a job to support their habit. The only reason you seem to have an issue with it is because you abhor the idea of prostitution in general. Many people are pulled into similar situations in other institutions, owing debts to people much worse than their employers. You are assuming that all brothels are run by cold, ruthless individuals who are dragging unwilling women into a trade they did not choose. Though that may be true in some cases, it certainly isn't in all. The world is an ugly place, Jacob K, and there's nothing we can do to completely abolish all the horrible things that happen, but by making things we disapprove of illegal, all we do is turn a blind eye to the evils that will happen regardless. Though you may be reluctant to admit (or believe) it, even if living in the brothels isn’t the most ideal lifestyle, it is certainly safer than performing the very same business on the streets.

    I admit that prostitution and teaching are two very polar opposite positions to be in, but I can’t help but argue with you on one point. You make it out that all prostitutes are subjected to things that, quite frankly, they are not. Prostitutes are required to be tested for STIs, and condom use is absolutely required. Though the job is certainly more stressful, it is still a choice.

    I find your comparison to murder farfetched and inaccurate. If you murder someone you completely strip them of their most essential right: the right to life. What right is legalizing prostitution taking away? None whatsoever. If a woman chooses to sell her body, it is her decision, therefore her right. Someone doesn't choose to be murdered.

    You can stand by your statement about rape all you want, but that won’t make it right. Prostitutes go into the business knowing full well what it entails, just as smokers chose to smoke knowing that it can lead to lung cancer. It is, as I’ve said, by no means the most ideal way to live, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be legal, and it certainly isn't rape. I also stand by marijuana being legalized, but that doesn’t mean that I think spending all of your money on pot is a good idea.

    Either way, you seem to be missing my point. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe there is anything wrong if a woman chooses to sell her body. It is her property, and she can do with it what she wants. If that means the conditions that prostitutes work under need to be improved so be it, but completely illegalizing it would be a greater crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588881237 John Russell

    Jacob I completely agree with you up to a point. Many times prostitution includes rape, exploitation, and the overall mistreatment of young women. I would even go as far to agree that the business of human trafficking is bolstered by prostitution. Such cases are sad and it greatly sickens me.

    However, to prohibit the activity of prostitution is equivalent to prohibiting the activity of operating a motor vehicle. The activities involved in driving cause death, property destruction, a plethora of bodily damage, and even road rage. The symptoms of what you described of prostitution: rape, enslavement, exploitation, and mistreatment are already illegal – and justly so. The same goes for operating a motor vehicle: speeding, reckless driving, DUI are already illegal – and justly so (in this example). You see, it should not be the activity in which people freely choose to do that which is prohibited – that is unjustified, impossible, and not conducive to a free society. Instead, it should be the sporadic consequences produced by the activity.

    This type of prohibition expands to drug laws, gambling laws, alcohol laws, and others. To prohibit the activities of individuals which may result in negative consequences will create a world that is similar in nature to that of an iron cage. Would the legalization of prostitution legitimatize the act? It shouldn’t. Instead, it legitimizes the freedom of choice and liberty each individual is born with.

  • Pingback: Oh, Hookers. | UNR Students for Liberty

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588881237 facebook-588881237

    Mary you sure know a lot about prostitution. :)

  • Mary Hunton

    I'm not half as clueless as you might think, John. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588881237 facebook-588881237

    Mary you sure know a lot about prostitution. :)

  • http://www.mchunton.blogspot.com/ Mary Hunton

    I'm not half as clueless as you might think, John. :)