Thursday, 17 April 2008
At 1102 BST on BBC Radio 4
Nevada is the only state in the US which permits legal prostitution. But in its largest city Las Vegas, known for its sex and sleaze image, it is illegal.
The popular mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, recently proposed legalising prostitution and providing the city with a string of "magnificent brothels".
Thousands of women are thought to be part of a lucrative prostitution and trafficking network. Legalization, the mayor suggests, would regulate the industry and make it a safer, healthier profession. And, cynics say, bring more tax dollars into city coffers.
In Nevada itself there are nearly 30 legal brothels. With names like "Chicken Ranch" and "Bunny Ranch" their owners claim they contribute to the local economies. But protest groups say ALL prostitution is wrong and women are being used and abused.
As more countries, including the UK, consider legalizing the sex industry Rosie Goldsmith goes to Las Vegas and Nevada to hear from the pro-legalizers and the anti-legalizers as they argue over the role of the oldest profession.
BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 1102 BST. It was repeated on Monday, 21 April 2008 at 2030 BST.
Reporter and Producer: Rosie Goldsmith