Terrible Situation shows why we need Decriminalization with women in charge
Not legalization and the pimp houses of Nevada
3/6/04 A Look Inside Nevada Brothels
Well I want to say a few things about the legal Nevada brothels. I am not sure
if any of your readers are providers but if there are any who read it they need
to know a few things about the houses in Nevada.
First you have to register with the Sherrifs office. There is no privacy. You
give up anywhere from 65% to 85% of your money to the house, government, IRS
and the new prostitute tax the state is now charging.
After your airline tickets, clothing, full price drinks and other misc. Fees
you leave with little. To top it off, you are treated like a work horse and
fined for just about everything. Fall asleep on you 14 hour shift at Old Bridge
now named the new Mustang and get $100 fine, late for a line up, leave early
ect $100-500 in fines.
The way the girls get treated by the madams is sad and uncalled for. There are
so many guys who only want to pay $150-$200 and the girls are forced to take
the party when after the taxi cut of 20-30%, house cut and room fees they get
only around $40.
We still have to pay weekly doctors fees and taxes on top of that! I can say
that I tried 2 houses and I just didn't have it in me to stay. I was happy for
the education and I learned more than most about safe sex. I am gratefull for
that. I just can not see working myself like that for so little.
Many of the women in those houses are lacking spirit and are quite sad. Men
are called tricks and there is much bitterness. It is not uncommon for men to
leave unhappy and feeling bad about what they did. I had one guy say he felt
worse than he did when he came in after his session. Its the turn them and burn
them method that makes all involved feel bad.
The women have to see as many "tricks" a night as possible to make any money
at all. The brothel owners are worse than any pimp. They abuse and imprison
women and are fully protected by the state. I thought brothels were a wonderfull
idea before I knew what they are all about. Now I can't believe how that sort
of business is acceptable and legal when it seems it is the most harmfull of
Dave says, thanks for sharing, I have heard similar stories over the years.
This is why I use the Nevada brothels as an example why we do NOT want legalization,
but decriminalization instead with the women in control. Instead of the government
and house owners being a pimp, women should control their own bodies and how
they do business. That is why decriminalization, not legalization is important
to protect women and make sexwork the positive, holistic, healthy, wholesome
service it is in so many other countries.
It works great in Canada, England and most of the world with legal individual
women in charge of their own business with no need for controls or other requirements.
Private sexworkers have very low STD rates and of course HIV is really a non-issue.
But the general public seems to think zillions of controls and regulations needed
since in the U.S. we don't have the hundreds of years of experience like Canada/England
etc have with good results from independent sexworkers without any requirements.
Working In Nevada
by Laura Anderson
Many people think that a legal brothel system, similar to the state of Nevada's
is the best way to allow prostitution to operate. Speaking as a former Nevada
brothel intimate, current self-employed call girl, and sex worker advocate,
I would like to inform others of the disadvantage to prostitutes created by
this system. From 1986 to 1991, I worked at four different brothels in Northern
Nevada. Two of them were large, well known houses. I met other women who had
worked the state's brothels extensively, and certain common conditions prevailed
which were disadvantageous to us.
By Nevada statute, the only prostitute can legally work is in the brothels.
Due to intentional default, the state and brothels retain an unfair advantage
in regulating the working women. Under this system, prostitutes give up too
much autonomy, control and choice over their work and lives. Because prostitutes
are not allowed to work independently, or outside the brothel system, Nevada
has essentially institutionalized third party management with no other options.
While the brothel owners love this profitable solution, it can be exploitative
and is unnecessary. prostitutes are usually quite capable of transacting their
own businesses without interference.
Even though the brothels consider prostitutes to be independent contractors
(convenient and less costly to them than employee status), the prostitutes do
not have the control or freedom that independent contractors or sole proprietors
have. If they decide to refuse a customer, management must be provided with
what it deems an acceptable reason. Some "customers" should certainly be avoided
at all costs. They might be rude, rough, or drunk, want too much for their money,
have an attitude problem, or just simply be jerks. I don't think anyone should
have to provide sexual services to men like that. Yet, many of the brothels
put the burden of proof on the prostitute. She must justify her right to refuse
business, even though she loses money herself by doing so. The prostitute is
the best judge of who is eligible for her services, and she should be able to
decide that without feeling pressured by a third party. Throughout Nevada, the
standard percentage kept by the house per transaction is 50%. The brothels charge
additional for room and board and several of them have the prostitutes supplement
the house employees income by giving them required tips. This mandatory tipping
can start at a minimum of $18 per day in the larger brothels. This is an effective
way for the house to minimize its labor costs.
Another problem with the Nevada system is the restrictions imposed on prostitutes'
freedom. They are required to live in brothels while they work there. 12 to
14 hour shifts are usually imposed and any plans to leave the premises of these
establishments must be approved by management or a prostitute may forfeit her
job or money. At most of the brothels I worked at, we weren't allowed to read
books while waiting for customers in the parlor. If business was slow, this
could mean a long, boring shift and a waste of valuable time.
Mandatory STD testing and sheriff department registration are also required.
The houses discourage and in many cases forbid prostitutes to see doctors of
their own choosing. My experience with the house doctors has often been rushed,
inadequate exams for inflated prices; some even exhibiting a patronizing or
sexist attitude! HIV testing is done on a monthly basis even though many health
professionals say that testing twice a year is adequate. The people most concerned
about the health of the prostitutes are the prostitutes, not the brothel owners,
and certainly not the state, which imposes politically motivated and gender
biased controls on prostitutes rather than holding customers equally accountable
for their own sexual behavior.
Registering with the sheriff can be a conundrum, as fingerprints are sent to
the FBI. If a woman is known to work as a prostitute, she is subject to various
social and economic penalties such as being unable to get health insurance,
discrimination in housing or future employment, or accusations of unfit motherhood.
In several countries a known prostitute is not allowed to immigrate or her travel
is severely restricted.
I am not opposed to brothels per se. They can be a good option, especially for
less experienced workers who can benefit from the shared knowledge of other
professionals. But when that is the only legitimate way a prostitute can work,
she finds herself with no other way to conduct business legally, while the power
of third parties over her is lopsidedly strengthened. This naturally leads to
exploitative circumstances. Until the needs and desires of prostitutes are fully
considered and included in any schemes legitimizing our profession, many of
us will choose to work illegally rather than sacrifice values important to us
like freedom, privacy, and control over our work, lives and bodies.
My short visit to Nevada, USA . . . WARNING!
From KC, a Canadian use to wonderful legal sex in Canada
The only thing good about sex industry in NV is its legality! Almost everything
else is notorious and should be illegal.
I.e., you ask - how much does it cost to have sex with one of these lovely ladies?
The answer always is something like 150-5000+, depends on what you want! Very
useful, I kid you not! You go into the gals room supposedly for one hour but
then she sends you on your way after you have done your deed in 20 min or so!
You ask her- what happen to our 1-hour contract that we have just negotiated?
She replies- honey, you should have been more precise in what you want! Anyway,
it will cost you more if you like to stay with me! You scratch your head and
walk away in silence! Later, you go in the room with another lady to have fun
but then she ends up asking you for extra cash, every time you want to do something
slightly different! I guess some whores expect you to **** them while holding
a stack of cash in your other hand!
The whole culture in NV is tied to not necessarily how much a service provider
would like to charge her clients but with how much one might be able to swindle
at the end of the day, pure and simple! The bottom line is one has to be either
dumb or blind not to see what is going on up there! Thanks but no thanks, one
short trip to NV was quite enough for me and I advise all my other Canadian
brothers to stay as far away as possible from so called legal NV brothels!
You see guys at least in Toronto we got hundreds of independent sex workers,
many of them now have there own Web sites advertising on the net. If you check
any of these ladies, at least one thing is very clear, they all post their (very
reasonable) non-negotiable rates.
Highlights of Another Sexworker Report
April 26, 2000 http://www.sfbg.com/SFLife/34/30/lead.html
A San Francisco whore in a Nevada brothel
Classiness and class-consciousness clash in a tale of two cities.
By Ann deLorenzo
To get to the brothel, I fly into the Reno airport and meet the "runner" who
will drive me to the brothel – a swaggering, poker-faced local named Stan. Stan
doesn't talk much. At first I think he doesn't like me. Then I realize it's
just business as usual. Jogging beside him to the van, I ask if we can stop
and pick up some Baby Wipes, antibacterial soap, and paper towels. "We'll take
care of all that," he says. "But first, we're goin' to the doctor's."
The madam had told me that over the phone too: as soon as my plane lands I'll
go straight to the doctor's, and it will cost $85. On the way to the brothel,
Stan pulls into the parking lot of a building with a sign that says Fast Medical
Clinic – it's the McDonald's of health care. Once I turn in the paperwork, a
nurse takes me into a private room and draws my blood. Under Nevada state law,
I have to test negative for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV before I
can register with the county sheriff and get my work permit. After the blood
draw, I have the world's fastest and most painless gynecological exam: A man
enters the room, deftly inserts a plastic speculum in my vagina, glances around
inside, and says, "Thank you, ma'am." He leaves the room without ever having
made eye contact, and I hardly feel a thing.
Of course, the laws regarding prostitution are not primarily intended to protect
me. The fact that we can only work in state-licensed houses keeps the brothel
owners in business and protects the neighbors from whores running loose in their
streets and backyards. State regulations benefit everyone but the working girl.
(This is why most politicized whores want prostitution decriminalized, but not
legalized, as it is in Nevada.) Meanwhile, the brothels pay as much as 70 percent
of the county's property taxes. Hence the friendly relations between the bordellos
and their neighbors. I had no problem getting directions to the nearby brothel
from a cheery housewife watering the plants in her front yard. Try asking the
locals on the streets of San Francisco the way to the nearest whorehouse, and
you'll quickly see how unusual this is.
But let's not forget the connection between that helpful citizen and police
surveillance. At nine the next morning, Stan takes me to the sheriff's office,
where I have to present my test results to get a work permit. The secretary
looks downright grandmotherly, but she doesn't take her job lightly. She orders
me to stand on one yellow line while she photographs me, then another yellow
line while she takes my fingerprints.
The fingerprinting is a difficult operation, since she insists on having total
control of my hand – which she stretches out so far that I repeatedly stumble
across the yellow line. "Don't cross the yellow line!" she barks anxiously,
as if I'm a dangerously confused teenager behind the wheel for the first time
in driver's ed. After fingerprinting each thumb, finger, and all four fingers
together on both hands, she checks me for identifying birthmarks, scars, and
tattoos, as though there were a high probability that I'll escape from prison
or that she'll have to identify my mangled body. By the time she finishes, I
feel like I've just been through an arrest drill for hookers.
Upon my return, the madam introduces me to Starlet, who will teach me how this
place works. There's something very prudish and schoolmarmish about her, despite
her see-through red dress and big platinum hair. She opens a thick black binder
and starts reading me the house rules one by one. "All new girls work from 8
a.m. to 8 p.m. You can stay in your room if you want, but as soon as the bell
rings, you have to be up in the parlor and ready to go.
"Never answer the door yourself. You'll be fined one hundred dollars each time
you do. When the bell rings, you get in line with the other girls, and the greeter
will answer the door and introduce you to the customer. You aren't allowed to
talk to the customer while you're in line. That's called 'dirty hustling.' Some
girls do it, but you're not supposed to.
"Sometimes the customer picks someone right away, but most times they don't.
They're too intimidated by all the girls, so they head straight to the bar.
"You aren't allowed to speak to a customer before he's ordered his drink. Once
he's ordered his drink, you can come on to him all you want – but don't butt
in while another girl's talking to him: That's 'dirty hustling' too, although
lots of the girls do it.
"Never talk prices on the floor. When a guy's interested in you and wants to
know your price, take him to your room. This is a classy joint: we don't talk
in the parlor about what we do and how much it costs."
Like myself and many of the whores I know in San Francisco, a lot of the women
who work here come from middle-class backgrounds. These women weren't forced
into prostitution by poverty or drug addiction. Many of them chose whoring over
straight work precisely because they found that prostitution was less exploitative
than their straight jobs. Yet, unlike some of the San Francisco whores, these
women don't seem especially interested in challenging the codes of sexual propriety.
For those with the temperament to enjoy the work, prostitution makes a lot of
sense: It saves the creative and adventurous from nine-to-five tedium, offers
good money and flexible hours, and allows one to go to school or pursue other
projects one simply wouldn't have the time or money for otherwise. San Francisco
is known for its bright, witty whores. Like the Nevada brothels, we're a tourist
attraction, and we provide a service that will always be in demand. (Isn't it
a shame the city wants to throw us all in jail?)
The Nevada brothel workers are a different breed. There are bright and witty
whores here, too, but most are less interested in sexual freedom, which is why
they don't mind the highly regulated brothel system. Unlike some of the radical
whores in San Francisco, many Nevada girls are more concerned with "class" in
the sense of upwardly mobile pretensions and refined aesthetic taste. The legalized
brothel system reproduces middle-class values, such as the expectations of privacy
regarding sex: the whores are confined to the brothel while working, and, even
in the brothel, they aren't supposed to talk about sex in the parlor, because
it's "bad taste."
There seems to be a connection between the absence of class-conscious worker
solidarity and the sexual conventionality these whores display. When I get my
first client, my trainer Starlet comes into the room with us. She's only there
for the very beginning – to teach me how to do "dick check." That's where I
check the client's penis for visible symptoms of STDs. Once John and I decide
on a price for a blow job and intercourse, Starlet spreads a towel on the bed
and asks John to drop his trousers. As he pulls down his pants and boxers, his
erect cock springs up like a flagpole.
Starlet puts on a latex glove and squeezes the tip of his cock, which eagerly
emits a clear droplet. "What you're looking for," she turns to me, "is anything
greenish white – that's gonorrhea – or any blisters or sores on the skin." She
peels off the glove. "It's that simple. Now he can put his pants back on, and
you take him to the cashier in the hallway, so he can pay."
From what I've seen, legalized prostitution is extremely confining. In some
brothels, prostitutes can't leave the premises. Fortunately, here we can ask
for time off when we need it. After three days indoors, I can't stand it anymore.
So I go for a walk in rural Nevada. A few motorcycle bars around, some houses,
not much else. The wide-open spaces don't ease my sense of confinement, though.
I wonder why this whole experience feels so familiar. On the plane out of Reno,
I realize that it reminds me, strangely, of visiting my parents.
Some reactions to this news article
From a sexworker:
Although it may have sounded erotic to you, being herded into the parlour for
line-up when ever a guy came into the ranch always made me feel more like a
prize hefer at a 4-H club show than a lady.
... I don't know how an escort can possibly feel like a woman when she's lines
up with ten other girls every time a man walks in. It would make me feel more
like a product than anything else, and no matter what service I offered I would
never want to be viewed as merchandise (I have worked unders such conditions
by the way, and absolutely hated it).
And a better way as one provider said:
If a guy didn't choose out of the line up he could sit at the bar and chat with
the ladies. The ladies would have to "hustle" to get a party with him. Personally
I find the way I work here to be a much better situation for myself. I have
a website, guys can see my rates and my pictures and hopefully from the text
they get a bit of an idea of what my personality is like too. If they like what
they see, they book an appointment. If not, they don't. And I don't spend 14
hours a day talking to men who aren't going to party with me. My time is my
Another sexworker on 11/5/03 writes
My Brothel Life
Some of women that work in the brothels become really reclusive. My one friend
is going on 30 years, I believe. Her room-mate is also my friend and he says
she stays in her room all the time at home! He thinks it because she is so used
to being in "her room" at work. I remember staying at the Mustang and working
2-3 weeks straight and spending 2 months there with 3 days off!! All you did
was eat, sleep, and fuck! It was tiring but you left the house with a nice chunk
of cash. However, I needed time to make a transition to real life. I used to
hide up in the casinos and eat room service and VEG for 2 days and then back
to the Ranch. We worked solid 12 hour shifts where we were up and down doing
line-up, after line-up and 14 Hours on the weekends! The brothels call us "independant
contractors" but they make all the rules. Is that fair? No, but who's going
to bitch or fight that system??? Jesse Winchester is a politician in Nevada
and an ex-sexworker. She has been going up against the "good ole boys" in Nevada
to change the brothel laws, but to no avail. The brothel owners association's
representative, George Flynt (I loathe this man) will be retiring in a year.
We are hoping for a major change in the brothels. One of my girlfriends will
be consulting on a new place in Hawthorne. She is going to push for shorter
shifts and fairer split. We'll see how it works.
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