A sign in a bar
Strip clubs represents a huge industry nationwide with a revenue of $7.7 billion in 2023 Unsplash.com/Sam Mar

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning people under 21 years of age from working as strippers or in any other area of adult entertainment establishments, local outlets reported.

The initiative is part of a broader attempt to fight against human trafficking in the state, the governor said during a signing event in Coral Gables. Adult bookstores, theaters, special cabarets and unlicensed massage establishments also fall under the definition of adult entertainment establishments.

The law also requires Florida rest areas, massage parlors and other places where human trafficking could occur to display awareness signs with numbers to hotlines. It will increase punishments for those who fail to do so.

Governor DeSantis' enactment stems from a bill approved earlier in March. The bill, CS/CS/CS/SB 796: Anti-Human Trafficking, released by the state Senate, not only prohibits anyone under 21 from working in an "adult entertainment establishment," such as a strip club, adult bookstore, or sex shop, but it also mandates that clubs include data to report human trafficking suspicions.

"This legislation will help better protect the most vulnerable in our communities, it will ensure that if businesses are not complying with these very modest, reasonable requirements, whether knowingly or unknowingly, they will be held accountable," DeSantis said. "And of course, anybody actively involved in human trafficking will have the book thrown at them in the state of Florida."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.

The governor added that he will allocate almost $5 million of the state budget to help fight human trafficking and a $900,000 grant program to enhance law enforcement training and staffing for these purposes. The law is set to go into effect on July 1.

Legal Challenge to Age Restrictions

In a separate action, lawyers representing the Jacksonville strip club industry have asked a federal judge to reject a bill passed by the city. This bill raised the minimum age to work as a stripper from 18 to 21. Both the city and the state of Florida are also facing a lawsuit filed by industry workers and club owners. They claim that these measures violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment by impeding a person's desire to dance

The Strip Club Industry

Strip clubs represent a significant industry nationwide, with a revenue of $7.7 billion in 2023, according to a report by IBIS World. The industry employs approximately 75,000 people across the country, including management, dancers, bartenders, and security personnel. In Florida, the industry is particularly prominent in cities like Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami—often referred to as part of the "strip capitals" of the U.S., along with Atlanta, Dallas, and Portland. Interestingly, Florida boasts three cities in the Top 10 nationwide in terms of strip clubs per 100,000 people, as reported by BedBible.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.