This article was published on Sitting at a kitchen table, Nikki seems ever-so-casual about her profession.
She takes a drink from a bottle of beer. She slouches back when she laughs—mostly laughing at her own situation. Then she leans forward, exposing a bit of cleavage, runs her hand through her blond hair and smiles. She looks almost innocent. I had a drug problem.
Around that time I started doing coke and crystal. Not so much crystal.
More coke than anything. She had been sexually active for quite some time. She once had a bet with two male classmates on who could be the first to have sex with 50 different partners.
A dime a dozen As a prostitute in Reno, Nikki has a lot of competition. She advertises herself on reno.
However, underage prostitutes often sell themselves on Craigslist, says a Reno police employee who chose to remain anonymous because she was not authorized to speak to the press. Anywhere from 30 to 60 offering sex for money are posted on reno.
Some prostitutes post multiple per day, while others only post an ad every few days.
Often prostitutes from California come up to Reno and advertise themselves online. Most of the work the same way: The prostitutes write a couple of sentences of dirty talk, then list their prices, put down their phone s and post a picture of themselves, usually naked and sometimes exposing their faces.
There are dozens of sites catered to the industry. But Craigslist is different. Other sites charge membership fees—so anyone on that site is there specifically to find a prostitute. It just requires users to enter an address to post an ad. There are a lot of code words. Usually, Craigslist prostitutes offeror minute sessions.
That usually costs extra, too. Pimps are often responsible for many of the crimes associated with illegal prostitution—like drugs, assault and theft.
Dennis Hof, brothel owner of Moonlite Bunny Ranch, says illegal prostitutes on Craigslist are a health risk to the community. She is a sober, well-educated and mannerly year-old woman. She has worked in brothels and now plies her trade on Craigslist. Ginger, who resents the profits made and tactics used by brothel owners, is a rare exception to the stereotypical Reno streetwalker. Sitting on a black leather couch in the living room of her one-bedroom apartment, Ginger takes phone calls from her second phone line, her work line, during an interview.
Ginger is an intelligent, open-minded woman. She feels that prostitution done right—not necessarily legal, but right—is not a bad thing.
She has nothing to gain from a story exposing her identity; and she has never been convicted of soliciting for prostitution. Most Nevada brothels keep half of what a prostitute earns. With the remaining half, the prostitute pays for room and board plus weekly medical tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
Ginger knows how it works. She spent three years at the Old Bridge Ranch, a brothel east of Sparks. Ginger started working as a legal prostitute when she was 37 years old. Even though she met her five-year financial goal in three years and then quit prostitution inshe resented the brothel for keeping so much of her earnings.
She began advertising herself on Craigslist a couple years ago, she says. For the past year or so, Ginger has been dating a man whom she intends to marry.
He lives in California. She plans to move there with him after the marriage—with her financial nest egg built with prostitution money.
And even though Ginger has never met Nikki, the earn-spend, earn-spend cycle sounded all too familiar. A means or an end? By Februaryjust six months after Nikki graduated high school, she was arrested for driving under the influence.
She was in Las Vegas then, where she went back and forth with various managers, as she calls them. Nikki talks the ghetto talk of a stereotypical prostitute.
And I owe my mom some money. I need to take care of my family.
She knows that Nikki has spent the past three years having the shit beaten out of her by various pimps in Las Vegas and in Reno. Her mom knows that Nikki spent years smoking crystal meth and that Nikki still dabbles with cocaine and other drugs.
Nikki estimates that about a half-million dollars have passed through her hands in the last three years.
What are you gonna do now? They got Benzs and Caddies and stuff. Bill Gardner, chief criminal deputy city attorney for Reno, says the benefits outweigh the risks for many illegal prostitutes on Craigslist. Photo By Lauren Randolph. A slap on the wrist Nikki and Ginger have little to worry about, as far as law enforcement goes.
Soliciting for prostitution is only a misdemeanor, no matter how many times a person is found guilty of the crime, according to Bill Gardner, chief criminal deputy city attorney for the city of Reno. Brothels are outlawed in Washoe and Clark Counties, where population s are above the threshold for legal brothels.
The first time a person is found guilty of soliciting, he or she can expect a fine, usually a couple hundred bucks. First-time offenders are usually put on informal probation, which means they could serve jail time if they commit any other crimes during their probation period. According to Nevada Revised Statutes, those convicted of solicitation of prostitution do not have to register as sex offenders, assuming both parties were healthy, mentally capable adults.
It is a felony when a person who is knowingly HIV-positive has sex with another person and does not warn that person of their disease. Under NRS Cases where prostitutes who advertise online knowingly transmit HIV are rare, said prosecutors and defense lawyers interviewed. To illustrate his point, Gardner waves a rap sheet sitting on his desk. The four- document shows multiple charges of theft, assault, prostitution and drug-related charges. The woman, whose name was not disclosed, was a streetwalker, Gardner said. The Craigslist prostitutes interviewed for this article all claimed they get checked for STDs on a monthly basis.
Still, some admitted to having sex without condoms, which can transmit STDs. Legal prostitutes who work in Nevada brothels are required to get a weekly STD check at their own expense.
Caught in the act Statistically speaking, the chances of a prostitute getting busted for soliciting prostitution on Craigslist are rare. When busting online prostitution, an undercover officer attempts to hire a prostitute, then the prostitute is arrested once she agrees to have sex for money. In contrast to the six online sting operations sincethe Reno Police Department has done 33 stings targeting street prostitution.
Johns and prostitutes alike are targeted in street stings, Poehlman said. Gardner said that alleged prostitutes are usually arrested on the spot, though some are just issued a citation. Ginger was caught up in a sting operation once. A check of her court records shows only one offense: disturbing the peace. The Reno Municipal Court confirmed that Nikki also has a warrant here for failing to appear in court in March on a charge of consumption of alcohol by a minor.
Worlds apart Even though Ginger has never met Nikki, she agreed to be interviewed in hopes of communicating a message to young women like the year-old prostitute. Ginger speaks passionately when talking about what many prostitutes go through—or put themselves through. Ginger has never been beaten up by a client.
Sitting on the black couch, Ginger reiterates her point that prostitutes can make more money working independently—and illegally. She thinks illegal is better: More pay.
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