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Is it okay for a guy to make a documentary that first auctions off virgins to the highest bidders and then films their first sexual encounters? An Australian filmmaker named Justin Sisely plans to do just that, and because he's been threatened with charges for inciting prostitution in his home country, he's taking his production to the United States.

Here's how the film will play out: Each virgin - ultimately one chosen female and male - will be paid $20,000 for their participation, on top of a 90 percent cut of their final auction price. The remaining 10 percent of that money will go to the Nevada brothel that is hosting the auction. (This brothel is reportedly in Las Vegas, but since prostitution isn't legal there, I can only assume this brothel is outside the city limits?) The cameras will then "[follow] the principle cast ... as they shed their virginity to a complete stranger in front of a worldwide audience."

Classy.

Yes, by definition, sex trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion, and this film's subjects are not only receiving a large monetary sum, but they are actively choosing to participate. However, this film is not a sociological study of a person's typical experience losing his or her virginity. It's not an academic approach. After being sold on an auction block and filmed in a most intimate scene with a stranger, these former virgins easily might feel like the cash in their pockets wasn't worth it. And if we need to get technical, they do not, by default, have the breadth of experience needed to recognize exploitation before it happens to them.

Join me in telling Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons to keep filmmaker Justin Sisely and his "virgin auction" out of their state.  

Letter to
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman
Nevada Governor
Australian filmmaker Justin Sisely planned to create a documentary in his home country that would auction off two virgins, one male and one female, who would then have sex on camera with their highest bidders. Each participant would be paid a sum of $20,000, in addition to 90 percent of their auction price. When they heard about this ethically questionable project, the Australian government threatened Sisely with charges of inciting prostitution. So the filmmaker left -- and he plans to take his production to Nevada.

The hosting brothel, which is reportedly in Las Vegas, will receive the remaining 10 percent of the winning auction bids. As you well know, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, and even outside of Clark County, Mr. Sisely could be acting in violation of the Mann Act if he carries through with his production plans. On behalf of those individuals who might be exploited by Mr. Sisely and other film participants, I urge you to address the participating brothel and put a stop to the film project before it starts.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important issue.