Barbara Brents is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a co-author, with Crystal Jackson and Kathryn Hausbeck, of The State of Sex: Tourism, Sex and Sin in the New American Heartland (2009), a study of Nevada’s legal brothel industry. (August 2018)
Brents: The Nevada brothel industry is small, but it is one workable alternative to criminalizing prostitution. Bindel’s conclusions fly in the face of the majority of the evidence we have. If we want to help sex workers, we should support better working conditions.
Bindel: Brents talks the language of workers’ rights, but without backing up the rhetoric with data of her own. In fact, there is extremely low membership in prostitutes’ unions in the legalized regimes of the Netherlands, Germany, and New Zealand. Furthermore, labor unions can’t offer what most women want: economic alternatives to prostitution.