Dreamgirl Nightmare? Florida to Raise Stripper Age to 21

Dreamgirl Nightmare? Florida to Raise Stripper Age to 21

With a new amendment to an old bill, Florida moves to raise the stripper age from 18 to 21

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 5, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—In a last-minute move in the final week of session, the Florida Senate altered an anti-human trafficking bill to raise the stripper age from 18 to 21, making Democrats worry this will lead young, struggling women to head down the dangerous avenue of prostitution.

Proposed by Republican Sen. Bryan Avila, SB 796/HB 7063 originally required human trafficking public awareness signs and the immediate reporting of suspected human trafficking.

Due to a new amendment sponsored by Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough, however, the measure also bans strip clubs from employing individuals under the age of 21.

"Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery," Yarborough said Tuesday. "Victims include young children, teenagers, and adults who can be citizens that are trafficked domestically within the borders of our country or smuggled across international borders,"

"Human trafficking includes two types of exploitation, commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The state has a compelling interest, like the federal government, in safeguarding the community and children from trafficking and sexual exploitation," he added, explaining how strip clubs provide a ripe environment for sex trafficking.

Yarborough had a bill earlier this session that exclusively dealt with stripper age, but it died before reaching the Senate Floor. Now, his provision has found a new pathway to success in Avila's recently passed bill.

Democrats were concerned about jobs removal from legal adults and the potential that those adults may turn to more dangerous activities to pay their bills, including prostitution or filming porn.

"What bothers me is that this is a predominantly female profession and you're taking away their ability to work. They're not children, these are adults, and we are taking away their ability to work," Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book said. She explained that while she supports the bill, concerns remain about bigger issues surrounding the sale of sex and alternative money-making options.

"Whether it's porn or Onlyfans, they're going to go somewhere else, those things are going to happen. Go after the men who are buying sex because that's a predominantly male thing that's happening...We have to be intellectually honest when having these types of discussions and passing bills that are taking away somebody's livelihood," she continued.

"I think it makes people feel good to be able to announce to the world that they shut down children, young women, young men working at these clubs, but there's been absolutely no consideration or conversation about what the alternative is going to be," Sen. Jason Pizzo said.

With just three of the twelve Democrats voting no, the bill passed the Senate Floor. It has yet to be seen on the House Floor, but if passed it will go to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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