Florida Lawmakers Vote To Raise Stripping Age From 18 To 21

Posted March 11, 2024 by with 7 comments

[image of male dancers at Florida’s Boardwalk Bar]

Being an 18-year-old adult is no longer old enough if you want to be a stripper in Florida. On Friday, state lawmakers voted to change the age requirement from 18 to 21 for male or female dancers who show any part of their butt, (female) breast, pubic area, genitals, or covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state (i.e., an erection). If DeSantis signs the bill into law (and there’s no reason to believe he won’t), strip club owners who employ adults between the ages of 18-20 as strippers can be sent to prison for up to 15 years. The law would go into effect on July 1, and it applies not just to strip club owners, but anyone employed in the strip club (bartenders, doormen, etc.). So, someone working the coat check in a strip club could be sent to prison if a 20-year-old was found to be dancing there.

The bogus intent behind the law is said to be about prevention of “sex trafficking,” when in reality it’s just more of the same religious right crackdown on sexuality and freedom of expression between consenting adults. Via Reason:

Florida lawmakers say the measure is meant to stop sex trafficking. (Sex trafficking is legally defined as prostitution involving force, fraud, coercion, or minors.) Young adults working at strip clubs are “likely to be trafficked and sold into prostitution and sex slavery,” Rep. David Borrero (R–Doral) said during legislative debate. “We ought to be on the side of young girls who are barely legal.”

But neither Doral nor anyone else marshaled evidence that strip clubs are sites of “sex slavery,” nor that requiring strippers to be 21 or older could put a dent in this supposed scourge.

Even if sex trafficking is an issue at strip clubs, it’s unclear by what mechanism barring young adults from stripping would stop it. The whole thing with criminals is that they don’t tend to care what the law says. Are we really supposed to believe that someone willing to force someone else into prostitution will suddenly stop because their victim can’t legally work at a strip club?


There’s nothing I can find about the bill that would apply to porn productions, but presumably that has to be the next target, and there’s plenty of porn produced in Florida featuring adults between the ages of 18-20. Maybe the Florida studios will have to relocate to Georgia? Or, better yet, Cuba.

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