Nevada provides beautiful landscapes for recreation, one being beautiful Lake Tahoe and its pristine crystal clear pure blue water. People come from all over the world to experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe, and activists fight to keep her waters pristine and free from pollution.
We are also known for gaming and prostitution, and people come from all over the world to experience the mantra of Las Vegas which has been “What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas” promoting the thought that a place also known as “sin city” gives permission to get away with fantasies which often include sexual exploitation. Could Nevada be known for something other than a place to fulfill destructive behavior fantasies and get away with it? The vast difference between crystal clear pure blue water and dark sinister behavior excused by “what happens in Vegas” is daunting.
The presence of legal brothels in 7 counties gives a place for human trafficking to hide in plain sight and weave their exploitation in and out of neighborhoods. Nevada has given exploiters and abusers permission to live out the “wild wild west sin city “mentality to permeate its culture and the result is taking a toll on our youth and survivors of sexual exploitation. Nevada has the ability to lure vulnerable people in with the promise of dreams fulfilled, which quickly become unattainable once they are controlled by traffickers and abusers within their homes. Could Nevada be known for something better?
As of March 2022, statistics show that Nevada’s commercial sex market is by far the largest of any state. At least 5,016 individuals are sold for sex in an average month in Nevada and that number does not include anyone working within the legal brothels. Legalized prostitution creates a breeding ground for human trafficking. Nevada’s number of prostituted persons per capita, (calculated at 6 per 100,000) is 63% larger than the next largest state of New York, and more than twice as many as in California.
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old, we have seen many of our local youth come in to Xquisite at 12 years of age with trafficking indicators. We have seen many domestic violence survivors (which I believe is more accurately termed as intimate terrorism survivors) that have indications of sex trafficking and exploitation.
Every story is unique, however we have discovered that one statistic is intrinsically present in 94% of the women and youth we talk with, and that is they experienced sexual exploitation around age 3 or 4 years of age. When innocence is taken by someone of trust at such an early age, that vulnerability sets a survivor up to be prey for someone to provide for basic survival needs and become trapped in a trafficker’s web of debt bondage and violent control. What is often difficult for us to believe is that anyone could be so violent toward another, however we often can grasp that concept easier if it is between a sex trafficker and someone in a vulnerable situation. What we find difficult to grasp in society is this, the same violent control, master manipulation and coercion is happening within our neighborhoods, behind the closed doors of a family. We can rationalize the sex trafficker’s behavior (not at all to condone the exploitation) because it makes sense, someone was caught in the middle of coercion because they believed the lie. It is seemingly incomprehensible that the same violent master manipulation, and coercion is happening behind the house next door. Xquisite has seen the intersection of sex trafficking and intimate terrorism rise and the survivor is left to exist within an abusive home with equal rates of violence and PTSD as the sex trafficking victim. Why as a society do we understand and take a stand against sex trafficking, and we should, but ignore the fact that there is also sex trafficking next door, but the same mentality permeates the response of “what happens behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors.” Can Nevada lead the way to change both narratives?
Xquisite is on a mission to change that narrative! What if we can be known for something other than prostitution and being one of the top states that allows violence and sexual exploitation. We truly believe that together we can. NEVADA CAN LEAD THE WAY TO FREEDOM! I firmly believe that once you become aware of something, in particular the exploitation of our neighbors, daughters, and sons, we can no longer remain neutral. Xquisite is leading a charge and open conversation to act on behalf of the survivors of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and intimate terrorism. We truly believe that the citizens that consider Nevada their home, truly care about their communities. We believe awareness and understanding of what sexual exploitation looks like especially here Nevada, must cause us to choose to be a part of the fight to end it. Xquisite is passionate about leading a path to freedom and ask the question, could we be known for something more than sexual violence and master manipulation?
The beautiful pristine waters of Lake Tahoe remind us that when someone values it and fights to take care of it, it is possible to change the narrative. We believe that everyone has value, and as we provide an ecosystem of passionate care we will see lives thrive. We can be known for freedom and a dream for lives to be restored with hope for the best tomorrow, and just like the activists that fight for a beautiful lake, we will fight for beautiful lives that are being exploited. That is what we at Xquisite, choose to be known for.