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Post by: Courtney Oien

Working every day to build a world “free from sexual abuse and exploitation,” the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) has assembled reams of data to use in their lawsuit against the state of Nevada. The numbers represent people, mostly women, who are harmed by the cultural acceptance of prostitution. Because prostitution is legal in Nevada, the demand for prostitution increased. Sexual predators take advantage of the demand by offering their sex workers at a lower price than the legal brothels. Teenagers are especially marketable. Drawing a connection between the legal brothels and sexual coercion of women, NCOSE wants Nevada to make all prostitution illegal.[1]

A community advocate once said, “The average person who’s not involved in sex trafficking might look at one of these kids and think, ‘Oh, they’re not worth it.’ A predator looks at them and says, ‘They’ve got potential.’” Potential for sales to increase the predator’s wallet.

Prostitution would decrease dramatically if citizens cared half as much about recognizing trafficked persons, and encouraging their potential, as predators cared about using them. We do not have to list off our birthdate, address, and credit card information, but we can  

  • Ask them for their name, and introduce ourselves,
  • say, “I noticed that you . . .”   were huddled by yourself on the ground when there’s an open bench right here / have a new iPhone but still look kind of miserable / look like you could use lunch
  • then if they haven’t had lunch yet, ask if you can buy them a sandwich.  Get one for yourself too, sit down and find out what they need. If they get up and go, fine. If they are willing to talk to you, be ready to suggest to them a place to stay or a community program to get involved in. Do you have the phone number of safe home in your area?[2] Is there an age-appropriate community program? 
  • Did you help him or her get to a safe place to stay? Drop by the next day to see how it’s going. Plan on dropping by as much as you think or they say is best for them—mindful of the other people you are committed to—but don’t just drop off the map.    

A citizen can serve in ways that the law or the program is too inflexible to help with.  Be thinking about the humor, the compassion, the ideas that other people have to offer. You can be one beam in another person’s support structure. 

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Student Staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


[2] In Virginia Beach, one safe home is the Butterfly House.  (757-839-9932)