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Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada Attorney General
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has a plan that punishes the perpetrators of sex trafficking – the pimps – instead of the victims they recruit.
Assembly Bill 67 addresses what Masto calls “a horrific trade, which is really slave labor” that mostly targets young women in their teens. According to Masto, the youngest victim in southern Nevada is 13-years-old.
“They treat these kids like cattle,” says Masto. “They move them around from one event to the next.”
She says her bill would allow the state to go after restitutions, which would provide compensation to the victims, and also channel money into the services the state can provide.
“Right now we keep (the victims) in jail. We can get services to them in jail and keep them away from their pimps,” says Masto.
Long-term psychological counseling is important when treating victims of sex trafficking, since pimps “look for someone with low self-esteem,” says Masto. Once the recruit is working as a prostitute, her physical and psychological health deteriorates further. “Now they feel they brought this on themselves and they’re ashamed,” says Masto. “They will self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, and now they are in this world that is very violent.”
Masto says pimps even brand their workers with tattoos, so that if they try to run away other pimps can identify and return them.
It takes “a long time and a lot of professional help,” to heal the damage caused by the sex trafficking industry, says Masto. “Unfortunately we don’t have that yet.”