A recent poll of Clark County voters, the county in which Las Vegas sits, shows they don't want to legalize prostitution or marijuana. The pot provision was shot down because of the fear that high tourists might gamble less. But legalized brothels were rejected, in part, because voters thought they would actually hurt the local economy. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that 64% of residents were opposed to legal brothels in Las Vegas as tools to stimulate tourism. A popular argument for the legalization and regulation of prostitution has long been that the industry would stimulate the local economy. However, University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Bill Thompson says that just isn't true. He claims that if legal prostitution has the economic impact proponents claim it has, then visitors would be flocking to the towns in Nevada where prostitution is legal, not to Las Vegas, where it isn't. Legal brothels in other parts of Nevada have been subject to the recession as much as other industries, why would they be any different in Las Vegas?
Of course, another consideration is sex trafficking, which evidence has shown grows in areas where prostitution is legal or highly tolerated, as it currently is in Vegas. Child sex trafficking is already a significant problem in the city, with almost 1500 child victims identified so far, most of whom are between 12 and 14 years old. Trafficking of Asian women and girls into brothels that hide behind massage parlor fronts is also a booming industry in Vegas. A popular argument against legalization of prostitution has been that legal markets create a larger sex tourism industry, which increases demand for women and girls. And when that demand outstrips voluntary supply, sex trafficking flourishes.
Given these two arguments, legalizing brothels in Las Vegas is a lose-lose scenario. If legal brothels don't stimulate the economy and aren't immune to recession, as Thompson supposes, then the proposal fails on economic grounds. If legal brothels do stimulate the economy, then they also increase demand which leads to sex trafficking and child prostitution, so the proposal fails on human rights grounds. But the voters of Las Vegas have gone ahead and said it fails on their grounds, no matter the reason.