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Stateline is a census-designated place on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe in Douglas County, NV, and has a population of approximately 930 residents. Prostitution in the state of Nevada is legal in counties with populations under 700,000 residents and is illegal in counties with populations over 700,000 residents. In the State’s larger cities such as Carson City, Reno, and Las Vegas, prostitution is prohibited. Legal prostitution occurring within counties consisting of populations less than 700,000 residents, is strictly limited to licensed and regulated brothels. All other forms of prostitution remain illegal in the state of Nevada. Individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex outside of licensed and regulated brothels can be arrested and sanctioned. Prostitution is illegal in Douglas County. For more information about the Prostitution and Solicitation laws in Nevada click HERE.
Prostitution and sex trafficking are pervasive issues within Douglas County and the City of Stateline, NV. For example, in 2013, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Street Enforcement Team (DCSET), arrested a couple from South Lake Tahoe, CA on suspicion of pandering of prostitution. According to reports, the investigation began after the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had received reports alleging that solicitation of prostitution was occurring in the casino core of the City of Stateline. Based on the information in police reports, the arrests were made several months into the investigation after officers had discovered that the couple had been operating a prostitution ring under the auspices of an adult entertainment business named “Sarah’s VIP Girls”. The couple was booked at the DCSO’s Lake Tahoe jail. The female offender was arrested and charged with pandering of prostitution, her bail set at $5,000, and the male offender was arrested and charged with pandering of prostitution and conspiracy to commit a crime, his bail set to $25,000.
Among the efforts to address prostitution and trafficking have been those seeking to reduce consumer level demand for commercial sex. For example, in May of 2021, three men were arrested in what authorities described as a sex trafficking operation in Stateline. According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the offenders had contacted undercover officers, who the men believed to be minors, seeking to exchange money for sex acts. The operation occurred in a casino located within the heart of the city. All three of the arrested offenders were identified as sex traffickers. Two of the sex traffickers were each charged solicitation of a minor for prostitution and attempted child abuse for sexual exploitation, and the third sex trafficker also faced solicitation and exploitation charges, in addition to charges of luring a child with a computer device, attempted lewdness with a child under the age of 16, and attempted statutory sexual seduction by someone over the age of 21. Detectives from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Reno Police Department Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, and the Nevada Department of Investigation arrested the three men.
In July 2021, another web based sting operation produced the arrest of several male sex buyers seeking to abuse minors. In February, 2022, one of the men who brought alcohol and cocaine on what he thought was a rendezvous with a 17-year-old girl was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail as a condition of probation, followed by 2 years of community supervision.
In July 2022, a human trafficking operation in the Stateline area resulted in the arrest of nine men, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reported. Investigators said the men contacted undercover officers posing as children for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations with them. The nine men faced several charges including Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child, Attempted Statutory Sexual Seduction, Attempted Child Abuse Involving Sexual Exploitation, Soliciting a Child for Prostitution, Attempted Luring of a Child, and one male was charged with resisting arrest. Two other men were cited and released for Solicitation for Prostitution of an adult. The operation was a joint effort by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Reno Police Department’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) team along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
- Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
- Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Street Enforcement Team (DCSET)
- Reno Police Department Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT)
- Nevada Department of Investigation
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Disclosure of Identities:
- Three Men Arrested in Stateline, NV on Charges of Solicitating Minors Online (2021)
- Three Suspects Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sting (2021)
- Three Men in Douglas County Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sting (2021)
- http://southtahoenow.com/men-arrested-during-human-trafficking-operation-stateline (2021)
- https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/south-tahoe-man-faces-up-to-9-years-in-prostitution-sting/ (2021)
- https://www.kolotv.com/three-suspects-arrested-in-human-trafficking-sting/ (2021)
- https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/stateline-operation-three-arrested-for-soliciting-minors-on-internet-for-sex/ (2021)
- https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/man-caught-underage-prostitution-sting-must-serve-jail-time/ (2022)
- https://www.kolotv.com/nine-arrested-human-trafficking-operation/ (2022)
- https://www.2news.com/arrest-nine-men-for-allegedly-engaging-in-sexual-relations-with-minors-near-stateline (2022)
- https://mynews4.com/nine-men-arrested-for-engaging-in-sexual-relations-with-minors-near-stateline (2022)
- https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/south-tahoe-man-admits-charge-in-sex-sting/ (2022)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/douglas-sheriffs-deputies-break-up-alleged-prostitution-ring/ (2012)
- http://southtahoenow.com/three-women-working-escort-service-arrested-stateline-sting (2016)
- https://www.washoesheriff.com/outreach/archive/ (2020)
- https://www.nevadacurrent.com/report-tracks-federal-response-to-human-trafficking-in-nevada/ (2021)
- https://thenevadaindependent.com/if-nevadans-are-serious-about-ending-sex-trafficking-they-must-abolish-legal-prostitution (2022)
- https://www.nevadacurrent.com/heartbreaking-abuse-of-children-demands-a-major-shift-in-outlook/ (2023)
- https://thenevadaindependent.com/updating-the-nevada-policy-tracker-a-guide-to-key-issues-in-the-2023-legislative-session (2023)
- https://legiscan.com/NV/bill/AB157/2023 (2023)
- https://www.leg.state.nv.us/82nd2023/Bill/9821/Overview (2023)
- https://www.fox5vegas.com/nevada-legislature-bill-would-impose-harsher-penalties-prostitution/ (2023)
- https://thenevadaindependent.com/sex-trafficking-survivors-find-place-to-heal-through-support-advocacy-groups (2023)
- https://thenevadaindependent.com/misconceptions-debates-about-legalization-surround-sex-work-in-nevada (2023)