2022-01-25

Alice Little Sues Nevada Governor over ‘Arbitrary’ Legal Brothel Closures


Alice Little, the highest-earning courtesan at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel, is instituting legal proceedings against Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak over his refusal to reopen the Silver State’s legal bordellos amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She is taking legal action because she believes that Sisolak is violating the Nevada constitution by unjustifiably snubbing sex workers while allowing other high-contact businesses to reopen.
The complaint alleges that Sisolak has denied Little and other “similarly situated” brothel workers their due process rights, and violated both their equal protection rights and their constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Association.

“I believe that Nevada’s sex workers have been treated unfairly by the governor,” Little said. “For months, businesses that involve close physical contact, like tattoo shops and massage parlors, have been allowed to reopen while the legal brothels remain shuttered. If it’s safe for a customer to get a massage at a massage parlor, then it should be safe for a customer to visit a legal sex worker if COVID-19 precautions are taken.”

“The brothels have been closed for more than half of this year,” Little said. “Sex workers like me are suffering financially and emotionally. We have minimal options for economic relief and limited alternative employment opportunities due to our stigmatized work history.”

“The governor’s decision to keep the brothels closed is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and in direct violation of my right to earn a living,” Little said.

Little is being represented by attorney Marc J. Randazza of Randazza Legal Group. Little’s civil complaint can be accessed here.

Since the early 1970’s, Nevada has been the only state in the U.S. to legalize prostitution in the form of licensed and regulated brothels. In March, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses in the state to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His order specifically named brothels among these nonessential businesses. While many nonessential high-contact businesses have received permission to resume operations, such as salons, spas and massage parlors, and dentists and hygienists, the governor has yet to give the go-ahead for Nevada’s legal houses of prostitution to reopen.

“2021 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the legalization of prostitution in Nevada,” Little said. “Over the past fifty years, Nevada’s legal sex workers have boosted the economy of the rural communities where brothels reside by providing safe and healthy adult entertainment to millions of tourists and residents. We have proven, despite tremendous denigration, that sex work can be an unmistakably legitimate and empowering occupation when prostitution is legalized and regulated by the state.”

In 2018, anti-sex work activists sought a referendum to ban legal brothels in Lyon and Nye counties and, in 2019, a bill aiming to permanently shut down the state’s bawdy houses was introduced in the Nevada Senate. Aggressive lobbying by Little and other Nevada sex workers in part lead to the rejection of the brothel ban referendum in Lyon County by 80 percent of voters, and the similar effort to ban brothels in Nye County failed to get enough signatures on a referendum petition. The bill to criminalize brothels statewide also fell through in the Legislature.

“Nevada’s legal sex workers have stood the test of time and we’ve earned our seat at the table. I won’t let the governor’s capricious actions devastate our livelihoods during this pandemic,” Little said.

“Sex workers deserve to be treated like other hard-working women in Nevada, and I’ll fight for our right to work.”



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