Members of Children At Risk and other groups gathered in front of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to publicly oppose a deal the city of Houston recently made with 16 strip clubs.
Bob Sanborn with Children At Risk says the mayor doesn’t fully understand the extent of human trafficking in Houston
“We have to understand that these 16 clubs also are part of trafficking in Houston. And so, any deal with any trafficker, for us, is not the right deal.”
The deal allows the clubs in question to offer lap dances and strippers to be fully topless. That’s an exception to the city of Houston’s 1997 ordinance that regulates sexually oriented businesses.
In return, the clubs agreed to eliminate private rooms, not employ someone who works for a pimp or who’s had a prostitution or drug conviction in the last five years.
The settlement is the result of several lawsuits by these clubs against the city.
But Sanborn says instead of making deals with them, the city should step up enforcement.
“There are over 300 sexually oriented businesses in our city. The idea is to go after all of them. Make sure that they’re licensed and make sure that they’re shut down.”
Mayor Annise Parker has said she understands that not everyone likes the fact that the city settled with those clubs. But she calls it a “good step forward.”
As part of the deal, the clubs will also contribute a total of $1 million a year toward the city’s Human Trafficking Abatement Fund.