(Dennis Hof) – What’s truly sad is watching people elected to office suddenly deciding they’re know-it-all “experts” on every issue without consulting with people who really ARE experts on an issue. Such is the case of freshman Nevada State Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R-Reno).
According to a Las Vegas Sun story on Thursday, Ms. Tolles has introduced a “john school” bill (AB260) that would sentence men who solicit the services of an illegal prostitute to a “rehabilitation program,” as well as increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.
Which reminds me of Dean Wormer putting the Delta House fraternity on “double-secret probation” in the movie Animal House.
Ms. Tolles testified on behalf of her bill before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and talked about a ride-along she did with police “during a sting operation,” as well as her discussions with some of the men picked up for looking for love in all the wrong places.
“As I asked them questions,” Ms. Tolles said, “about how long had they been buying sex illegally, are they aware of the cycles of violence that come along with this industry and this trade, and why do they go to a street corner instead of to a legal brothel (my emphasis) – I was struck by some of the answers.”
According to the Sun story, Ms. Tolles further testified that “data that shows the illegal sex trade flourishes in areas with legal prostitution.”
As they say out in the pasture, “Bull!”
The fact is, illegal prostitution is practically non-existent in Nevada communities where legal brothels operate. But don’t take my word for it; call the sheriffs in Nye and Lyon counties.
Interestingly, although I own seven legal brothels in Nevada – the only state with legalized prostitution – and have been in the industry for 25 years, Ms. Tolles refused to discuss her bill with me last week, cancelling a scheduled meeting in her office without notice or explanation…or even so much as the courtesy of a follow-up call.
Discourtesy aside, it is wholly irresponsible to pontificate and legislate on a legal business she knows absolutely nothing about.
Maybe instead of jailing, fining and sentencing consenting adults – with the operative words being “consenting” and “adults” – for a natural human interaction (not unlike a one-night-stand after dinner and movie), elected officials should get out of our bedrooms and instead focus SOLELY on sex trafficking scumbags who prey on under-aged girls, abuse them violently, and put them in extremely dangerous situations on the street.
Frankly, passing new laws that look good on a campaign re-election flyer but won’t be enforced won’t do any more for true victims than existing laws that aren’t being enforced.
Indeed, it’s no coincidence that the greatest level of illegal prostitution and sex trafficking abuse in Nevada occurs in Clark and Washoe counties where prostitution is “outlawed” instead of licensed, regulated, controlled and taxed.
The idea that sentencing consenting men and women who exchange cash for sex-related services to some kind of “diversion therapy” program may be well-intended but is ill-advised. And won’t eliminate the problem.
After all, prostitution isn’t known as the world’s oldest profession for nothing.
As perhaps the world’s leading expert on the legal prostitution industry – having lectured on the subject internationally at The Sorbonne in France and Trinity College in Dublin, as well as debated the topic at Oxford University in England – that’s what I would have told Ms. Tolles had she extended me the courtesy of a discussion.
Mr. Hof is a successful Nevada businessman, author, philanthropist, star of an award-winning reality TV series on HBO and president of the Home of Freedom PAC. He can be reached at DennisHof.com