A federal judge dismissed claims that the state of Nevada and certain sexually oriented businesses violated the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, by encouraging sexual servitude.
The decision was made in July in a case brought by three women in Nevada who claimed they were victims of sex trafficking.
Governor Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford, the state of Nevada, Nye and Clark counties, and the city of Las Vegas were all dismissed as defendants.
The plaintiffs do not have standing to sue the government agencies, according to U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon. He also mentioned that the women claimed to have been trafficked in other states prior to Nevada.
Gordon wrote that “The plaintiffs do not plausibly allege that the injuries they suffered are fairly traceable to Nevada’s system of legal prostitution or to the State or City Defendants.”
“The plaintiffs do not allege that the injuries they sustained are reasonably traceable to Nevada’s legal prostitution system or to the State or City Defendants,” Gordon wrote.
Nye County attorney Brent Ryman believes Gordon made the correct decision.
“Any abuse these women suffered was criminally inflicted by private third parties wholly unrelated to Nye County,” Ryman stated.
The city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Clark County has refused to comment.
Gordon also dismissed 13th Amendment claims against a brothel and a strip joint, but he allowed two claims against those establishments to proceed under a different federal law.
A woman identified as Jane Doe #1 claims that she was forced to perform sex acts while imprisoned for weeks inside the Chicken Ranch brothel in Pahrump.
A second claim, filed by Jane Doe #2, claims that Sapphire Gentleman’s Club was aware that the woman was being sexually assaulted by clients but did nothing about it despite video surveillance that could “see and hear everything that occurred.”
According to a plaintiffs’ lawyer, the survival of the two claims is a small step in the right direction.
“I think now we have an opportunity to hold the actors in the commercial sexual exploitation system accountable,” said lawyer Jason Guinasso.
However, an attorney for Sapphire stated that the allegations leveled against the club are absurd.
“There is one claim remaining with one Jane Doe plaintiff, ” said attorney Casey Wallace. “It is meritless. It has no legs. It’s going nowhere.”
There is no trial date set, and the parties in the case are proceeding with the discovery process.
Credits: Las Vegas Review Journal
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