Judge dismisses lawsuit to outlaw all Nevada brothels

RENO, Nev. — U.S. District Judge Miranda Du has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to make prostitution illegal in Nevada.

Currently, there are legal brothels in seven Nevada counties. Prostitution is illegal by state law in Clark County and by county ordinance in Washoe and Carson City.

But some Nevada counties that have brothels have no ordinance on the books making them legal or illegal.

The lawsuit was filed in February by anti-prostitution activist Jason Guinasso, a Washoe County attorney, on behalf of three women who claimed they were the victims of sex trafficking in legal brothels.

In her ruling, issued Oct. 29, Du said the women live in Texas and she wasn't convinced the profound harm they said they suffered was due to Nevada prostitution laws.

"That plaintiffs were unlawfully forced into prostitution and sex trafficked in Nevada and other states is not sufficiently traceable to Nevada laws ... as opposed to other factors, namely the illicit behaviors of private bad actors," Du wrote.


RELATED: Nevada brothel industry on shaky ground as possible ban looms in Lyon County


According to a report from the Associated Press, Guinasso said he may appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Developer Lance Gilman, owner of the legal Mustang Ranch brothel in Storey County who filed to intervene in the February lawsuit, said he was extremely pleased with the judge's ruling.

In a media statement, Gilman described Guinasso's claims as “incendiary allegations that are steeped in moral judgment rather than facts and done for political gain rather than establishment of sound policy.”

Gilman said sex trafficking is a serious issue for the legal brothel operators who he said are dedicated to the health and safety of the women working in the industry.

The lawsuit, he said, was a complete waste of time and resources.

Guinasso was also involved in the ballot initiative to outlaw the brothels in Lyon County in the last election. The measure was defeated by a margin of almost four to one.


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