News & Opinion | December 8, 2020 6:30 am

A Nevada Sex Worker Is Suing the State for Keeping Brothels Closed Amid the Pandemic

Alice Little of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch is suing Nevada for keeping brothels on lockdown

nevada brothels
Nevada's brothels have been closed since March.
Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Alice Little, the highest-earning legal sex worker in the U.S., is suing the state of Nevada for keeping brothels closed amid the pandemic while other businesses such as bars, restaurants, salons and massage parlors have been allowed to reopen.

Brothels have been shuttered in the state — the only one in the U.S. with legalized sex work — since March, which Little argues represents discrimination against the sex industry and its workers.

The lawsuit was filed October 30, Insider reported, and states that if Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak refuses to reopen brothels, licensed sex workers should be permitted to see clients in their homes or other private locations.

“Nevada’s governor has unfairly kept the legal brothels closed while allowing other high-contact businesses, such as massage parlors, spas, and salons, to reopen,” Little wrote in a GoFundMe launched to raise legal fees for the suit.

“Nevada’s legal brothels have kept sex workers safe and provided a legal and respectable outlet for sex workers to ply our trade for nearly fifty years, and now the brothels are in danger of closing forever and the livelihoods of sex workers are in dire jeopardy.”

Unfortunately, shortly before Little filed her lawsuit, Sisolak made it clear reopening brothels is not a primary concern, telling the Nevada Independent, “Certainly we’re going to have to look at getting kids back into schools before we look at getting folks back into brothels. We’ll be addressing it sometime, certainly, but it’s not in the immediate future.”

On Sunday, Little posted an update to the GoFundMe, stating the case would be heading to a hearing.

“For the first time since the pandemic started nine months ago, the governor will have to defend his position in a court of law,” she wrote. “It’s time for sex workers to establish their right to work like never before — remember, this case is unprecedented.”