HOUSTON — We’re finally hearing from city officials on the possible opening of the country’s first "sex robot brothel," rumored to open right here in Houston.
There is still no word on where or even when this "brothel" would be opening. All we know is it’s been announced by the company to be its first in America – but Houston leaders are pushing back against it.
“It’s not the sort of business that we advertise for, or we seek to attract," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
Turner says this is not the type of business he’s looking for.
“Or quite frankly, from my point of view, the sort of business that I want in the city of Houston," Turner said.
A self-proclaimed “love dolls brothel," there's already one in Toronto, and as posted online, another is coming to Houston.
Turner says he’s already checking with the city's legal department to see whether there are any existing ordinances that could prohibit this type of business, or if an ordinance could be amended to either limit or regulate it.
“Just like with other sexual-oriented businesses, you can’t be close to daycares, schools, churches, synagogues, things of that nature," Turner said.
In the meantime, a Change.org petition is continuing to gather signatures - 7,000 and counting against the brothel’s opening.
The non-profit behind the petition focuses efforts on ending sex trafficking in Houston, saying the brothel “will only encourage more men to become sex buyers.”
But whether it’s preventing the business altogether or just regulation, the city is still figuring out how to proceed.
“Look, I'm not trying to be the moral police, but I am charged with the health and safety of the people in our city," Turner says. "And I do want to make sure that an ordinance that came into existence in the 1990s is applicable to things that are taking place today."
But KHOU Legal Analyst Gerald Treece says there may not be much they can do.
"There's a difference between human prostitution and artificial prostitution," Treece said. "And therefore, there's no law, that I'm aware of, that prohibits this as long as it's done to where there's no public view of it while it's happening."
KHOU 11 News is still waiting to get more answers from the company’s owner.
He first told us the brothel will open around the beginning of October, which could be any day now.