Alexa Albert   Brothel  
Alexa Albert    



In 1989, medical student Alexa Albert embarked on an unprecedented public health study: to explore the legalized brothels of Nevada and to give a human voice to the oft-maligned prostitutes and their customers. Albert spent months at the world-famous Mustang Ranch Brothels, earning the trust of many of the workers and learning the intricacies of an industry that most of us can hardly fathom--an industry plagued by inaccurate assumptions and judgments that Albert disproves.

Albert presents her findings in Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women. Interspersed among factual information about the trade are deeply personal stories, mostly of the prostitutes themselves, sometimes of their clients. The women Albert met grew to trust her, to open up and reveal who they are, how they got to Mustang, and why they stayed. At the core of the book is the local and national battle between lawmakers and the spearheads of the prostitution industry; Albert offers an all-encompassing look at the historical and social ramifications of this conflict.

In this issue of Bold Type, Albert, who is currently completing her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, discusses her work at Mustang and the women she met. She discusses the role that sex itself plays in these women's' work, the advantages and flaws of the brothel industry, and the things she's learned that surprised her most.

Read an interview with Albert and an excerpt from Brothel.

--Laura Buchwald

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