Nevada implementing strict child prostitution law
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Authorities in Nevada planned to freeze and seize property and assets of people convicted of trafficking in child prostitutes under a new law that a sponsor called one of the strictest in the nation.
“We want teen prostitution to come to an end in the state of Nevada,” John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, said Tuesday. The freshman Republican state assemblyman won unanimous passage for the measure in the state Legislature.
“Child prostitution is a scourge,” Hambrick said.
Gov. Jim Gibbons held a ceremony Monday in Las Vegas highlighting Hambrick’s measure, which the governor signed into law on May 22.
“A word of caution to those who exploit children: We’re after you,” Gibbons said. “This will make you pay.”
The law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, will allow district attorneys to confiscate assets of people convicted in child prostitution cases. It also will let judges impose fines of up to $500,000 for trafficking in prostitutes younger than 14, and $100,000 for trafficking in prostitutes ages 14 to 17.
Prostitution has been legal in rural Nevada counties since 1971, but is illegal in five of the state’s most populous counties, including the Las Vegas and Reno areas. Prostitution involving juveniles under age 18 is not legal anywhere in the state.
Hambrick said he wanted Nevada’s child prostitution law to go after assets reaped by pimps and panderers and serve as a model for other states.
Clark County Family Court Judge William Voy, head of a special court formed in 2005 for cases involving juveniles accused of prostitution, said he was frustrated that prostitutes are often arrested, while pimps go free.
Voy said seized funds could help establish a residential safe house to get teens out of the life of sex for money and encourage them to help prosecute their pimps.
Lawmakers were told that a nationwide FBI crackdown on child prostitution last October resulted in 49 arrests in the Las Vegas area, and Las Vegas police handled 150 child prostitution cases in 2008.