STOP THE RAIDS!

Las Vegas
Super Bowl LVIII
February 2024

Stop The Raids Las Vegas February 3-5th 2024

2024 Super Bowl LVIII Media Release

Stop harmful raids by law enforcement around the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LVIII will be held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday February 11, 2024.

Law enforcement uses large sporting events to target sex workers and their clients under the guise of anti-trafficking. Increased police scrutiny does not reduce human trafficking and harms vulnerable communities.

All sex workers and their clients in the greater Las Vegas area should be aware of potential sting operations to avoid getting arrested. Law enforcement targets communities of color at higher rates for prostitution related offenses.

Mainstream media conflates sex work with trafficking with the FALSE narrative that all sex workers are victims and that our clients are predators.

Organizations and individuals interested in participating in action to stop harmful law enforcement raids should contact info@esplerp.org

This project is funded in part by the Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society and RESIST.org

Recent Stop the Raid’s Events

February 5th, 2024 Sex workers push back on Super Bowl trafficking narrative Advocates for the sex industry want law enforcement to turn the other way at “consensual sex work,” calling for its decriminalization.

LA Die in December 18th, 2023 – Hydee Feldstein Soto, end your bad policies! Sex Workers Die-In Calls Attention To Bad Los Angeles City Attorney’s Policy And Marks- International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Stop the Raids Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII 2024 Coverage

“It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” said Doogan, who has been a Bay Area sex worker for 35 years and helped organize an anti-raid gathering Monday outside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. “Our business is part of the larger economy, and it’s just really a discriminatory act to single us out at these large sporting events.”

“Almost half of Americans believe that prostitution, the exchange of sex for payment and a misdemeanor in many states, should be decriminalized. However, few doubt that sex trafficking — defined under federal law as commercial sex involving minors, force, fraud or coercion — is an act of evil.”

“You can’t help but feel bad for the prostitutes that get caught up in these sting operations,” Doogan said. “The Super Bowl is such a unifying event, and they won’t get the chance to take part in it.”

From Super Bowl sex trafficking stings arrest hundreds, but sometimes miss target
February 10th, 2024

“The laws that criminalize prostitution … end up being the basis that people, mostly women, are discriminated against in housing, access to employment, access to their child custody rights, access to financial institutions,” said 35-year “working prostitute” Maxine Doogan. “So that prostitution arrest can be like a social death.” 

From 2024 Sex workers push back on Super Bowl trafficking narrative
February 9th, 2024

“Activists say increased police raids around the Super Bowl only harm and traumatize consensual sex workers without actually helping trafficking survivors”

“Yet, anti-trafficking organizations like Freedom Network USA and Polaris all agree that there is no evidence to suggest that there is a spike in human trafficking around the Super Bowl. Researchers have also found no link. Instead, this messaging is an effective way for some organizations to boost their profiles while also making the police look good and necessary. But it does little to help actual victims or survivors.”

From Sex workers and advocates organize to stop trafficking raids around Super Bowl
February 7th, 2024

“Cities routinely engage in sweeps of the community, trying to push the poor and impoverished out of view. They want to sweep the extent of poverty and homelessness under the rug. Looking pristine for tourists is more important to Las Vegas officials than helping the most marginalized in our community. As we get closer to the Formula One and the Super Bowl, such activities will only increase, purposefully making the lives of many people worse. These events are opportunities for the city to bring in large amounts of money, and the City of Las Vegas should be allocating some of this revenue to increasing social safety nets.”

From Ties between major sporting events and sex trafficking is a myth
November 16th, 2023

Stop the Raids Phoenix Super Bowl LVII 2023 Coverage

Arlene Mahoney is the executive director of the Southwest Recovery Alliance. She said that sex work is not inherently unsafe.

“What makes it unsafe is these bad laws,” Mahoney said. “And it pushes sex workers outside the fringes of society. So if they do experience violence, or something happens to them, there’s no recourse for them.”

From Sex-work advocates say anti-trafficking campaigns do more harm than good
Kirsten Dorman February 8th, 2023

“They’re rebranding in the face of us calling them out on a lie,” she said. “But you can’t have it both ways.”

She added: “Until sex workers are at the table, leading the conversation, [the McCain Institute] is just promoting misinformation, coercing people into choices they wouldn’t have otherwise made.” – Juliana Piccillo SWOP Tuscon

From McCain Institute Gaslights Public with Op-Ed on Super Bowl/Sex Trafficking Panic
Stephen Lemons February 12, 2023

The notion that the Super Bowl feeds an increase in human trafficking is a “harmful myth,” Mahoney said.  Some studies on the issue, including a 2014 report by Arizona State University researchers ahead of the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale, found no link between increased sex trafficking and the sporting event.

Rather, Mahoney said, the specter of human trafficking is used to arrest adults engaging in consensual sex work — generally charged as misdemeanor prostitution, not as trafficking — which many activists believe should be decriminalized. “Sex work is not trafficking,” she added, noting that criminalizing all sex work can make witnesses to trafficking less likely to speak out.

From Civil Rights Advocates Protest Focus of Super Bowl Spike in Police Activity
Katya Schwenk February 10, 2023

Advocates point out that the workers, the supposed victims, are often charged. Nickerson said she spent five and a half years behind bars. It was devastating to her and her two children. “We lost our home… I lost health insurance, I lost all of our material belongings,” she explained.

That’s why these protesters are calling for sex work to be decriminalized. “Sex workers biggest fear is law enforcement, it’s not bad clients, but when you’re hiding from the police you often have to take shortcuts,” Piccillo said.

From Sex workers demanding prostitution be decriminalized at downtown Phoenix rally
Amy Cutler February 6, 2023

One reason the Republic flubbed its reporting so badly: it ignored the voices of sex workers on the topic.
By contrast, other local news outlets — including KJZZ, Arizona Family, and the Phoenix New Times — reported on a Feb. 6 sex workers-rights demonstration in downtown Phoenix, interviewed activists, and made note of a website established by a coalition of local and national groups advocating for the decriminalization of all sex work: i.e., stoptheraids.org.

From Arizona Republic Misreported Basic Facts about Sex Trafficking and the Super Bowl
Stephen Lemons February 16, 2023

2024 Stop the Raids committee members

LV Red Umbrella Collective

A grassroots network led by and for sex workers in Las Vegas offering support through mutual aid, community events, and political activism.

ESPLERP

Sex Workers and Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project. Peer-led training, organizing, and advocacy for the erotic service community.

International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education


2023 Stop the Raids committee members

Sex workers outreach project Tuscon organization logo, a heart with a red clenched hand as one of the heart lobes.

SWOP Tucson

The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) is a national grassroots movement which focuses on improving the lives of sex industry workers by promoting safety, dignity and diversity in sex work, and fosters an environment that affirms individual choices and occupational rights.

Feed PHX

Our mission is to end food and housing insecurity, in PHX AZ, through Intersectional Activism and Integrated Community Action.

RIOT

(Harm) reduction is our thing. We love respect & support people who use drugs through harm reduction. 

Southwest Recovery Alliance

Southwest Recovery Alliance is a peer led, guided, and directed regional grassroots organization dedicated to the implementation of evidence based public health strategies, policy transformation, and justice reform for people who use drugs and engage in sex work in Arizona.   

ESPLERP

Sex Workers and Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project. Peer-led training, organizing, and advocacy for the erotic service community.


2022 Stop the Raids committee members

US PROStitutes Collective

A multiracial network of women campaigning for justice for sex workers, economic resources and decriminalization of sex work.

ESPLERP

Sex Workers and Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project. Peer-led training, organizing, and advocacy for the erotic service community.

The Sidewalk Project

The Sidewalk Project, a lived experience mobile harm reduction project and needs based syringe service providers, aids unhoused, drug-using and sex worker populations, providing residents of Los Angeles with case management including medical care and housing linkage and system navigation services

Strippers United

Strippers United is a labor union dedicated to unionizing strippers in California and beyond. We believe in sane and safe work environments for strippers and sex workers. 

Free Speech Coalition

The 501(c)6 trade association that protects the rights & freedoms of those in the adult industry.

SWOP Sacramento

The Sex Workers Outreach Project- Sacramento is a California State social justice network dedicated to reducing harm, improving healthcare, and upholding both civil and human rights of sex workers and their communities.