Prostitution is illegal in all jurisdictions in the United States with the exception of a few counties in Nevada where the commercial sex trade is legal. There are federal, state, and local laws that regulate prostitution activities based on the confined rules of jurisdiction.
Federal prostitution laws apply when prostitution involves a non-citizen alien or crosses international or state boundaries. Under Federal law, the importation of people for the purposes of prostitution is illegal and considered a form of human trafficking prohibited by federal code and the 13th Amendment of US Constitution.
Any instances of prostitution on federal property, such as a military base, also fall within the jurisdiction of the federal government, including overseas military bases. Anyone who takes a prostitute across state lines to in illegal prostitution will be subject to federal prostitution charges. Anyone with a history of prostitution on their criminal record will be denied employment in the federal government.
At the state level, rural states tend to have the strictest prostitution laws, whereas urban states tend to have more lenient prostitution laws. This generalization regarding state prostitution laws apply only to laws pertaining to the punishment of prostitutes and solicitors of prostitution, colloquially known as Johns.
Many states have higher penalties and sentences for repeat offenders of prostitution and soliciting prostitution. The most serious prostitution laws are reserved for pimps. Human traffickers who import people for the purpose of prostitution labor will be brought on federal charges.
Local jurisdictions such as counties and municipalities can add ordinances onto to existing statutes (state laws), depending on the nature of the states’ own constitutions). Prostitution laws in the State of Nevada gave each county the liberty to decide on the legality of prostitution within the sovereign boundaries of their county. Currently in the state of Nevada, there are 9 out of 17 counties that have legalized prostitution with strict regulations.
The governments of these counties charge large fees to brothel owners. They also stipulate that prostitutes in the legal brothels must be tested for sexually transmitted infection frequently. Unprotected sex is illegal in these brothels as well. Some Nevada county government left the question of prostitution up to the municipalities. In Clark County, whose largest city is Las Vegas, prostitution laws kept prostitution illegal within its borders. Prostitution outside of brothels is still illegal statewide but is considered a misdemeanor.