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Brothel owner Dennis Hof makes unusual offer

RENO, Nev. -- Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof is making an unusual offer.

Hof is asking the city of Phoenix, Arizona to allow legalized prostitution around the Super Bowl next year. He believes his idea will cut down on illegal sex trafficking.

Experts say illegal sex trafficking spikes around these types of events. Hof believes he knows how to fight it. "I'm saying to Phoenix, 'I'll give you a half million dollars. Let me open up 30 days before the Super Bowl and the golf tournament down there. Then allow me to stay open until 30 days after the event,'" said Hof.

In addition to giving the city a half-million dollars, Hof also said Phoenix could use the revenue generated by legalized prostitution. "I was born and raised in Phoenix, so I understand the sex trafficking problem there."

Hof said he already has people looking at real estate in Phoenix to set up a temporary shop. "Phoenix has got a lot of financial problems. There are lots of hotels and a hotel would work. I need a bar and it would be nice to have a restaurant and a bunch of rooms. That's really all you would need."

Hof insists his idea would work to curb illegal sex trafficking. "They won't go to the underaged girls. They won't put money into the hands of these ruthless pimps that are drug dealers and gun dealers. They'll spend the money in a legal, licensed place knowing the girls are tested and they are of age."

Not everyone agrees Hof's idea would work. "Acts that may cost several hundred dollars in a legalized brothel cost signficantly less out on the street," said Reno Police Department Street Enforcement Team Sergeant Ron Chalmers. "It's black market sex and that market will always exist."

Chalmers notes he is asked all the time if he thinks legalizing prostitution would stop sex trafficking. "No, I don't think it would," is his response. "The reality is we have legalized prostitution just 15 minutes away from downtown Reno and we have no shortage of customers or girls on the streets. Judging by our arrests during our sting operations, it's just easier, more convenient and cheaper for some than going to a brothel."

Hof disagrees with Chalmers' assessment. "You're never going to stop sex trafficking completely, but this is how you put a big dent in it because if there's a legal alternative, a client is going to the legal, for the most part."

"The Bunny Ranch is a 59-year-old 'social experiment' that works real good. We've got it down," Hof added. "We don't have pimps in Lyon County, we don't have illegal prostitutes walking the streets. Sex trafficking is a brutal business. Reno and Las Vegas need to wake up too."

Hof said he appeared on Meghan McCain's television program to promote his idea. She is the daughter of Arizona Senator John McCain. Hof said Meghan McCain was putting him in touch with her mom, Cindy McCain, who is an advocate against sex trafficking.

While Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has spoken out against Hof's idea, Hof said he is sending out letters to other Arizona officials hoping to gain some support.