There has been a lot of media attention recently about Nevada’s legal brothels. I see the hope and excitement in the eyes of those in the anti trafficking movement on how negative press can lead to bigger changes, such as brothels being shut down. I get pretty excited about these things too, but I also want us to consider what it would be like if you were working there, hearing of those wanting to shut down your only way of supporting yourself and your family.
Imagine yourself as someone who grew up with people constantly being against you. Exploited at a young age, now you are being taken in by an older man who showed you nothing but “love” and financial provisions. Since your dad was taken from you for what he did to you, you never really had a father figure. You enjoy the attention you receive at the brothel. Being taken in has made you feel safe. You can finally support yourself and your kids. The brothel owner only keeps half, and trust me, half is better than none, which is what your last boyfriend left you with. He took everything you used to make. So now you are in the brothel and finally have support and friends that not only care for you, but understand you. You know it’s not all good, but it’s better than what you had and now you’re hearing about people wanting to take it all away from you. You see their excitement over wanting your boss to hurt and the best life you’ve ever had might slip away. If you didn’t have the brothel, you could lose your kids and have no other way of making a living. Your mom has already threatened to take full custody of your kids if you don’t come up with the money she asked for. You begin to wonder why these people who always talk about love, seem so heartless and mean. Why do they want to hurt you and take away the life you have?
The realities of what go on everyday in the brothels can be harsh, but not nearly as tough as the streets. For many of the women living there, it is a roof over their heads and three meals a day. As we see through our rose colored glasses, we forget about the precious lives working there to take care of their families. If we are quick to close their doors, each of the 300 plus women are out of a job with no means to support themselves, and the cycle of abuse continues. As we get excited about laws changing and our state becoming a state that no longer supports the objectification of women, let’s also think about how we can care for these women and their children. Are you a business owner who is able to offer job training and support? Are you willing to sponsor a women going back to school? Or better yet, are you willing to open your home and your life to become a new sense of community and family for these dear ones?
Together, we can make our city safe for everyone. Comment below and let me know the different ways you will help care for and support not just the women in the brothels, but those affected by all areas of commercial sexual exploitation.