The efforts to outlaw brothels in the Lyon and and Nye counties in Nevada is wrong-headed and short-sighted. SWOP-USA is fighting for the full decriminalization of sex work, which the legalized brothel system is certainly not, but we believe that walking back what little options for legal recognition some sex workers are afforded is ultimately detrimental.
Shuttering these legal avenues of sex work will ultimately not stifle the industry, nor decrease the number of sex workers. We do not believe these are worthwhile goals to begin with, but seem to be the motivations of many of the organizations and individuals who are supporting the potential referendum. Reducing the number of options for sex workers simply moves sex workers into other places of work, sometimes ones that are more dangerous or precarious than where they worked previously.
Not in My Backyard attitudes towards sex work are frequently disguised as genuine care for the wellbeing of sex workers, but acts of banishing sex workers are those of violence and silencing. We urge the residents of Nye and Lyon counties to consider the humanity and safety of their sex workers neighbors and not deprive them of the means to make a safe living.
Additionally, we hope that in the coming years sex workers can be afforded ever-more control and power over their working conditions. There remains much to be improved about the legal brothel system, specifically in allowing sex workers more representation and influence in their running, but outlawing brothels entirely will erase much progress that has already been made.
SWOP-USA hopes to see the brothel system develop in more into more democratic structures in the future. Unionization and worker cooperatives are not out of the question in the possible development of legal prostitution in Nevada. There is a true opportunity for real worker control to come about in the brothel system, and for power to move out of small groups of owners, and into the hands of sex workers who are best equipped to manage their own businesses and determine their working conditions.