House panel approves upping stripper age requirements to 21-plus

Are felony penalties for adult entertainment proprietors the key to stopping latter-day slavery?

The House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee is moving forward legislation that would combat human trafficking by making it harder to work in the adult entertainment industry.

HB 1379, carried by Republican Rep. Carolina Amesty, prohibits employment of people younger than 21 years of age in adult entertainment establishments, such as adult bookstores, adult theaters, special cabaret and unlicensed massage parlors, which the Windermere Republican calls “modern-day slavery” and a “significant part of the sex trafficking network.”

The bill, which the sponsor said would be “transformational for our state,” would make any such employment at adult businesses a second-degree felony.

The committee bill analysis advances a preemptive legal defense of the bill, noting that “the state has a compelling interest in safeguarding the community and children from trafficking and sexual exploitation.”

Asked why 21 years old, was the cutoff, Amesty said it had been “established” as a “reasonable time frame” and a “commonsense” move.

Regarding concerns about constitutionality, Amesty said it was a “matter of public safety,” and that for those over 21, exotic dancing and such is their “right to decide.”

To that end, law “regulating conduct with incidental effects on speech can be a reasonable restriction if, among other things, it is narrowly tailored to serve substantial government interests.”

Amesty believes that interest is served here, especially given the assumption that the average entrant to sex work is 17 years old, with 44% of trafficked women under the age of 21.

In support of the bill, Amesty invoked a seminal Jacksonville case: Wacko’s Too, Inc. v. City of Jacksonville, in which Jacksonville has used a licensing scheme to restrict those under the age of 21 from performing as a “permissible way to keep track of licensed performers, secondary to combating human trafficking.”

Despite this local tie, Jacksonville Rep. Angie Nixon was down on the “hypocritical” bill, which she saw as an abridgement of people’s “autonomy” to do this “legitimate work.”

“They have their own minds. These are their bodies,” the Democratic legislator said.

Rep. Ashley Gantt noted the incongruity of allowing 18-year-olds to serve in the military while banning them from doing this kind of work, with the Miami Democrat voicing her objections to “creating a new felony, creating a new crime.”

For her part, Amesty prefers women get their “education” rather than resorting to sex work.

A similar bill is moving through the Senate, with an amendment that for now keeps the language unaligned exactly.

Sen. Clay Yarborough’s measure (SB 1690) stipulates, after an amendment adopted in committee, that owners would be subject to first-degree misdemeanor charges regarding those under 21 working in the clubs as support staff, such as kitchen workers and clothed performers.

If those under 21 dare to bare, the penalty is enhanced to a second-degree felony penalty for the proprietors.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 1, 2024 at 1:29 pm

    How’s an attractive 18, 19, or 20 year old young adult supposed to earn the money to buy a pricey rifle to keep themself safe with now that they can buy a rifle at 18, 19 or 20 but they can’t strip?

    Florida. The land of brilliance. /s

    • Ron Forrest Ron

      February 1, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      That’s the point. The crusty old white men of the GOP have not been satisfied as of late with the options on sugar babies dotcom.

      So, they’re taking away the easiest legal way for young folks to make good money without first getting an education and an education’s worth of debt.

  • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

    February 1, 2024 at 2:01 pm

    Earl is upset that they didn’t lower the limit to 12. He’s a convicted pedo who like’s ’em young.

    • Dancing Outlaw

      February 1, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      I bet he is happy. They just greatly increased his perceived value in his Chaturbate membership

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704