Dear Mayor Goodman,
My name is Dennis Hof, and I’m in the prostitution business. For nearly fifty years prostitution has been legal in many of Nevada’s rural counties in the form of licensed and regulated brothels, where sex workers practice their trade safely, profitably, and free from coercion. I own seven brothel licenses, more than anyone else in Nevada’s history — three of which are in Nye County near Las Vegas.
I bought my first brothel, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, in the mid-1990’s and I’ve spent the better part of my life as the most outspoken figure in Nevada’s legal sex industry. I’ve had a long-running television program on HBO, written a book about my experiences, and I’m often in the media championing (or defending) Nevada’s unique and progressive prostitution laws.
This platform has been my life’s work. I believe that I’ve changed the perception of American prostitution forever and brought Nevada’s brothels out of the shadows and into the limelight, where all Americans can see the good that these establishments do for sex workers, clients, business owners, and rural communities.
This past October, I turned seventy. While I’m proud to reflect on my accomplishments over the decades as a successful and uncompromising businessperson and legal sex work advocate, I’m saddened to realize how much work there is yet to be done.
Recently a study from Arizona State University shined a bright light on the reality of Las Vegas sex trafficking victims. The study showed that, in 2014, two-thirds of victims were under the age of 18, and nearly half of these children were violently forced into sex slavery by coercive pimps who are often not convicted of any crime. The study revealed that victims were as young as 12 years old.
Our State’s most prized city is a cesspool of child sex trafficking, and it’s worse than any of us thought.
Las Vegas, with its “Sin City” reputation and “What happens here, stays here” slogan, is the top sex tourism destination in the United States. The casinos, hotels, and streets of Las Vegas are overflowing with criminal prostitutes, a good portion of them underage, ready to cater to the sexual desires of the city’s guests. The gaming industry passively enables pimps, as sex trafficking victims service the guests staying at the opulent adult theme parks Las Vegas is known for.
Prostitution and gaming are why people come to Vegas, and both industries work together in harmony. So what if one of these industries is illegal and harms children? There are billions to be made!
The criminal sex trade in Las Vegas is indeed an estimated multi-billion dollar industry. It’s untaxed, unregulated, and it exploits children. The desire for pay-to-play sex in Las Vegas isn’t going to go away — ever. Prostitution is as much a part of the DNA of Las Vegas as the city’s gaming industry. So how do we cultivate a thriving Vegas economy and simultaneously stop sex trafficking? Well, America has made this mistake before. Remember Prohibition?
From 1920 to 1933 it was illegal to make or sell alcoholic beverages in the U.S. But did that stop people from drinking? Heck, no. Instead, the Immutable Law of Good Intentions kicked in, meaning we made what was perceived as a bad situation worse.
Once liquor became a crime, it didn’t stop people from drinking. Instead, criminals took over the business. It drove the consumption of alcohol by consenting adults in the freest country in the world underground, while giving rise to violent mobsters.
Bye-bye tax revenue; hello Murder, Inc.
Has the prohibition of prostitution stopped sex work in Sin City? Absolutely not. Instead, we’ve driven the world’s oldest profession underground while giving rise to violent pimps.
Bye-bye tax revenue; hello child sex slaves.
Earlier in this decade, then-mayor Oscar Goodman advocated for discussing the possibility of allowing legalized prostitution in Clark County. He was brave enough to admit that the city has a profound sex trafficking problem, and bold enough to suggest that legalization may be a good solution.
In light of this most recent study, I strongly feel that it’s high time we reopen the discussion on legalizing prostitution in Clark County. I invite you, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, to meet with me and tour my Love Ranch brothel near Las Vegas, so that I can dispel any of your misconceptions about the merits of legal prostitution. Then, perhaps together, we can lead the charge against sex trafficking, and usher in a new era of regulated, safe, and lucrative sex tourism in Las Vegas.
I’m proof that Nevada’s fifty-year legal prostitution experiment is an unqualified success. Let’s stop child sex trafficking in Las Vegas, increase tax revenue, and provide the city’s tourists with a safe and healthy adult entertainment experience.
Las Vegas visitors want prostitution. Let’s give it to them, the right way.