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Harris County

Harris County Bans “Robot Brothels”

County commissioners update the regulations governing sexually oriented businesses to prohibit sexual activities with “anthropomorphic devices” on the premises, echoing a similar ban by the City of Houston.

Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media
Harris County Commissioners Court. First Assistant County Attorney Robert Soard sits second from right.

Harris County commissioners voted unanimously to bar so-called "robot brothels" from the county. Houston City Council enacted a similar ban earlier this month.

The Harris County Attorney's Office was already working to update the rules governing sexually oriented businesses before Toronto-based KinkySDolls expressed interest in expanding to Houston.

"We mirrored the city's language and added, as part of the ‘adult arcade' definition, that an adult arcade is also a place where you have an ‘anthropomorphic device' and that if you intend to use that device for sexual activities, it would be a violation of the regulations," said Assistant County Attorney Celena Vinson, who helped draft the amended language.

That expanded definition effectively bans businesses like KinkySDolls, which advertises its products as "rent before you buy."

Also under the new rules, all sexually oriented businesses must post educational information about human trafficking, including the National Human Trafficking Hotline.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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