Yes, most of that was Harry Reid’s quote, at least the part before the comma but his ridiculous speech to the Nevada legislature has been under my skin ever since. Instead of discussing how he plans to help the devastated Las Vegas housing market, or maybe the unemployment that has hovered around 14-15% for over a year, or how the state should fix its budget crisis or its schools he decided to go after one of the only industries in much of the state’s extremely rural areas.
Contrary to popular belief prostitution is illegal in all of Clark County which includes Las Vegas. State law forbids brothels in counties with more than 400,000 people. Street prostitution is illegal in all counties. The counties that have legal brothels are huge counties in size with tiny populations, often times with around 5000 people, that have no other industry with some minor exceptions such as mining.
The state’s Supreme Court has already ruled counties, with the exception of Clark County, have the option of allowing it, regulating it, or outright banning it. In fact four counties that could allow it do not and four others allow it but are so rural they do not have any brothels at all. Why does Harry Reid believe this right should be taken away?
Maybe he feels that the brothels, who give weekly tests to their workers, who have never had a case of HIV since testing began in 1986, who pay taxes to their counties and to the IRS, aren’t a good alternative to the estimated 500 known HIV positive Las Vegas prostitutes. Maybe he really thinks that people will stop paying for sex if they ban it. Whatever it is I think he is crazy. I am too libertarian to agree with him and the libertarian ideas such as this are part of the reason I moved here. If you look at the poll in the Las Vegas Sun article I link to at the top you will see Nevadans agree, 82% say it should not be banned.
This brings me to my next point. Not only do I disagree with Harry Reid I will go so far as to say that Las Vegas needs a Red Light District. It has been over 60 years since Las Vegas ran legal prostitution out of town. It certainly did not run the sex trade out of town. Today it still thrives and the workers are not held to the same health standards as the legal houses hours out of town. If you ask people outside of Nevada the majority probably think Las Vegas has legal prostitution anyway. Why not tax it, clean it up and give people what they want?
There are plenty of areas north of US 95 or east of downtown that would literally be cleaned up if brothels moved in. Yes, there are neighborhoods that are so bad that hookers in store fronts would be an improvement. If you are going to call yourself Sin City then you need to be Sin City.