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Get girls into legal brothels
By Dennis Hof

Dennis Hof is the owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch, a legal brothel south of Carson City.

Re "Getting Girls Off The Streets" [RN&R Jan. 3]:

I feel compelled to say that, despite the well-intentioned efforts of the Reno Police Department, "shutting the store down" has never "stopped people from using the product."

The reality is that the demand for sex in this country is at an all-time high.

"It's time that we recognize prostitution as a part of human society," Rev. Ruth Hanusa says. "They don't call it the world's oldest profession for nothing.

Sgt. Nuttall unwittingly admits as much when he states that continued police presence has only made Johns a bit more careful. "They're leery now. They drive by our girls a couple of times. But they can't control themselves." And they never will.

The answer doesn't exist in criminal enforcement. If you're against the exploitation of women, against sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, pimps and money feeding an underground society, then you de-criminalize prostitution--it's as simple as that.

It's painful for me to hear of girls being beaten and robbed while turning tricks on the streets. And even more chilling to hear Sgt. Nuttall tell us, "They don't report it. They take their lumps. They lose their money. They go on." Not at the Moonlite BunnyRanch they don't--and not in any other legal brothel in Nevada either!

Unlike the woman mentioned in the story who had to enter a program to receive a GED and get her life "together," many of the women who work at the BunnyRanch are subsidizing their college educations, businesses and dreams by working as legal prostitutes. We have one 18-year-old at the Ranch who purchased a 2002 car, has almost saved enough for a house and is socking away money for the college of her choice. She is not the exception.

One of the tragic ironies of the legal brothel industry, as George Flint poignantly notes, is that we are limited in our ability to advertise, when in fact, advertising our business provides a public service. I wonder if those self-righteous moralists who want us to lay low in the brush realize they are contributing to an increase of criminal activity, the spread of disease, violence against women and, as Helen Reynolds documents in her book, The Economics of Prostitution, $14.4 billion of unreported income to the IRS annually.

With the closure of the Mustang Ranch and the restrictions placed on making the public aware of the services of existing legal brothels, there has been a proliferation of illegal hooking in Reno. Quite frankly, the under-funded police are only scratching the surface by targeting the Fourth Street girls. Reno is turning into a Las Vegas, with a myriad of escort services and freelance pros flooding the area. The problem of illegal prostitution runs much deeper than the article implied.

The fact of the matter is that criminals cannot operate in a legal environment--a licensed, regulated, doctor-approved environment where the women become their own bosses, as well as tax-paying citizens.

The public school system teaches sex education to sixth graders. When will the rest of society become so enlightened?

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January 10, 2002

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