January 7, 2023
Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) attended the annual Adult Video News (AVN) Awards in Las Vegas earlier this month. The event recognizes achievements in various aspects of the creation and marketing of adult films and provides a space for members and fans of the adult entertainment industry to showcase their latest work and newest products and talk about business initiatives.
DSW Legal Director Melissa Broudo, Development Manager Esmé Bengtson, and Staff Attorney Rebecca Cleary attended. They networked with allies and spent time discussing the differences between legalization and decriminalization, the importance of immunity laws, and how labor regulations affect sex workers.
Nevada is the only state in the country where prostitution is legal, though only under incredibly restrictive circumstances. Here, prostitution is permitted only in strictly licensed and regulated brothels in sparsely populated counties of the state. Meanwhile, brothels remain illegal in the major cities of Las Vegas and Reno and their suburbs.
At the AVN Expo, DSW met with Nevada brothel workers to discuss their labor rights under the state’s current prostitution laws, which allow for very few individuals to work legally in brothels. Decriminalization would ensure the health and safety of all sex workers and allow them to choose their working environments.
The connection between labor rights for both legal and criminalized sex workers is critical. Mainstream society has long demonized the porn industry, and the government imposes repressive labor policies that pose barriers to the rights, safety, and fair wages of adult performers. Financial institutions like banks and credit card companies have a history of discriminating against those who work in the sex industry, making it difficult for them to earn fair revenue for their labor.
The outstanding display of solidarity and support shown by the AVN community this month exists as proof that despite these circumstances, human rights advocates will always stand together to celebrate everyone’s freedom to express their sexuality.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to speak to us at the expo, and to our newest newsletter subscribers: Welcome!