Gov. DeSantis raises the minimum age for strippers

Teenagers will be foreclosed from adult entertainment in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has approved legislation that would end the ability of people under 21 years of age to work in adult entertainment establishments.

DeSantis signed the measure (HB 7063) in Coral Gables. That legislation was amended to lift the age limit for performers and other employees of adult establishments from 18 to 21 by absorbing another bill (SB 796).

DeSantis said this legislation was part of ongoing efforts to “combat human trafficking,” contending the problem has gotten worse in recent years due to “Mexican cartels” benefiting from the “open” border.

Other leaders affirmed his take.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez said people across the country “look to Florida” for guidance on how to stop the “scourge” of human trafficking, again suggesting a void of leadership in Washington drove urgency.

“We are all in this fight together,” she said, before blaming “feckless” President Joe Biden for doing “little to nothing to keep our children safe.”

GOP Rep. Carolina Amesty, who championed the strip club provision, said those establishments were used to purchase “commercial sex,” with the average age of the sex worker being 19.

“My vision for the young women of Florida is to not work in an adult entertainment establishment,” the Central Florida Republican said.

The bills dealing with adult entertainment age limits had made progress in committees. But the measure seemed doomed before they became riders to HB 7063, the larger anti-human trafficking bill.

The legislation signed Monday will also extend the future repeal date of the direct-support organization for the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, revise the human trafficking hotline telephone number and change rules on vendors licensed under the Beverage Law.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said the National Human Trafficking Hotline had “abandoned its original mission” for a “radical agenda,” after having been taken over by a “social justice warrior” who wouldn’t report infractions to Florida law enforcement, by way of stressing the importance of the state hotline.

Under this legislation, owners will be subject to first-degree misdemeanor charges regarding those under 21 working at all in the clubs and other adult establishments. If those under 21 dare to bare, the penalty will be enhanced to a second-degree felony penalty for the proprietors.

Outside of the Legislature, questions abound about what the age component of the bill would actually do.

A February Criminal Justice Estimating Impact Conference meeting found that they couldn’t guarantee the bill would subject any scofflaws to incarceration, tacitly raising questions about whether this high-profile slam of college girls stripping would accomplish anything other than punitive symbolism.

That said, a “positive indeterminate” impact is expected for prison populations, while “costs may be incurred” by strip clubs compelled to hire older replacements for younger performers and staff.

Of course, economic analysis didn’t temper passionate legislative advocacy for this bill.

In support of the amendment during Session, Republican Rep. David Borrero said strip clubs were hotbeds of human trafficking and exploitation, with minors and undocumented immigrants serving as prey for owners of strip clubs, massage establishments and brothels.

“Strip clubs are safe havens for sex trafficking,” Borrero said, wondering why people would want “teenagers” to be “targeted” in those dens of iniquity.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 13, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    12 year olds are adults whenever Florida Republicans want to lock them up for whatever “adult” crime, but legitimate, legally adult women who are 18, 19 and 20 are deemed to be “teenagers” unable to make adult decisions affecting their lives, and their lives only, when the decision is only where to work at.

    Speaking of 12 years old being considered adults by Florida Republicans, I will spare everyone today’s too-obvious Matt Gaetz joke. You’re welcome!

    • Karen B

      May 14, 2024 at 12:03 pm

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      • MH/Duuuval

        May 14, 2024 at 9:42 pm

        If the little kid in your photo is your friend making $100 per hour, then even in Florida you have violated child labor laws.

  • ScienceBLVR

    May 13, 2024 at 2:27 pm

    “…in those dens of iniquity” hmmmm I wasn’t aware of the stripper age requirements, but I know those dens serve primarily male unrequited egos.. So men get to control every aspect of female existence from how old you have to be to take your clothes off for money, to how your reproductive processes function. And aren’t all those girls just making money for college? They may need those bucks sooner, rather than later.

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    May 14, 2024 at 8:57 am

    Brilliant move, GOP. Given no teeth with this law, now the skeezers have leverage over the 18, 19 an 20 year old strippers who will be stripping illegally but still stripping due to the lack of enforcement.

    And as if that weren’t bad enough, the concern was allegedly minors stripping, so what the GOP do? They instantly converted 3 years worth of adults into minors, increasing the number of minors who are stripping.

    This law, what is it really for? Web Cam Dot Com owner-donors wanting the younger ladies steered their way? Strip at home dot coms are the only ones that benefit from this law?

  • Girls For Gators

    May 14, 2024 at 9:05 am

    Is the theory that if college girls can’t strip, maybe they’ll become athletic ambassadors, working at University in roles where they, ahem, help lure good football players to Florida, cough cough?

    Is Gov DeSantis’ plan to make Florida’s college football great again really one of grabbing recruits by (with) the pussy? Give ’em a nice new Corvette too and someday maybe the Gators will be great again.

  • Jim

    May 14, 2024 at 11:07 am

    So you can vote in Florida at age 18 but you can’t strip to earn a living. Yep, that makes sense.

    I could not vote in November 1968 because I was only 20 years old. I didn’t think to ask if I could Strip for Dollars and man, I was ripped then.

    • MH/Duuuval

      May 15, 2024 at 9:48 am

      Yeah, but you could have been conscripted at 18 and sent off to Southeast Asia to kill commies, or be killed yourself.

      Where are the nanny-state whiners?

  • Kevin Mahabir

    May 18, 2024 at 10:41 am

    Here’s my take on this, I appreciate the Florida lawmakers for trying their best to combat human trafficking/sex trafficking because it is a very big issue. I appreciate they want to protect children, young adults & anyone else who is vulnerable or has been a victim. However though, The moment you tell an 18 year old, 19 year old & especially a 20 year old what they can or cannot do with their bodies, The moment you tell them where they can or cannot work is going to far in my opinion. I understand those young adults can’t consume alcohol or purchase cigarettes until age 21 but come on now, 18, 19 & 20 year olds are adults, not children. So it doesn’t make sense that you ban these adults from working in adult entertainment establishments, Some of these adults that work in this field use their earnings to financially support their college tuition, to buy a car, to rent an apartment. How are they supposed to do this now if you take away their right to work? This law is very unconstitutional in my opinion & I believe the age should remain at 18. By the way I am 22 years old & if I was a lawmaker I would combat human trafficking by going after those criminals, making sure they are thrown in jail for the rest of their lives, tell them to get the heck out of the state of Florida but I would never take away the rights of an 18, 19 & 20 year old adult & I mean never.

Comments are closed.


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