HOUSTON – The City of Houston has struck a deal with 16 strip clubs within city limits in an agreement that’s going to cost one million dollars a year.
Dancers at those clubs will now be allowed to perform topless in exchange for that annual payment. The city has required Houston strippers to wear pasties and cover up since 1997.
The agreement ends years of litigation.
“We’re a topless club, and we’re going to offer topless entertainment,” said attorney Casey Wallace. “I know it will do good. These 16 clubs are going to give a million dollars every year. This isn’t a one-time punch.”
The money will be used to create and staff a human trafficking unit within the Houston Police Department.
Mayor Annise Parker and other city leaders spoke publicly at a Wednesday news conference. Parker said she believed the settlement allows the city to address a big problem.
“Establishing a working relationship with these 16 clubs will assist law enforcement in reducing criminal activity, help us combat human trafficking, and hopefully, allow us to focus police resources on the rogue clubs,” said Mayor Annise Parker.
The clubs have also agreed to eliminate their private rooms, hire only those who want to work voluntarily and not hire dancers who have convicted of prostitution or drug charges in the past five years.
The eased restrictions only apply to the 16 clubs that existed before 1997. Any sexually oriented business which opened after that date will still have to adhere to tighter rules.