The mayor of Houston is exploring options in an effort to “restrict or regulate” the first so-called “robot sex brothel” in the United States that is slated to open this month in the city.
“This is not the kind of business I would like to see in Houston and certainly this is not the kind of business the City is seeking to attract,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in an email statement to Fox News.
His office said it is not accurate to call it a "brothel," and pointed out that Yuval Gavriel, the founder of KinySdollS, calls it a showroom. Gavriel said customers can try out the merchandise.
Gavriel made the announcement last week in The Washington Examiner, telling the paper he plans to expand to 10 locations throughout the U.S. by 2020.
The company opened its first location last year near Toronto, where $60 buys a half-hour alone with a robot sex doll, according to the Examiner. The dolls start at $2,500.
Turner said “the city is currently reviewing existing ordinances that may restrict or regulate such businesses as well as looking to upgrade our ordinances to cover these type of businesses.”
Residents and activists have expressed their opposition to the brothel, which Gavriel described as a “showroom” where customers can test and rent dolls before deciding to purchase one.
"There's kids around here and it's a family-oriented neighborhood and I live right here and to have that here is just gross," Andrea Paul told KTRK.
The business does not meet the definition of a sexually oriented business and requires simply an occupancy permit, ABC 7 News reported.
Despite concerns, there are no regulations for the sex robot business, the Examiner reported, prompting calls for legislative action from legal experts and activists.
In June, Congress voted to ban the importation and transportation of sex robots and dolls that look like children.
The Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots (CREEPER) Act was introduced by Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., who said such robots can lead to predators abusing children.
“Right now, a few clicks on a computer can allow a predator to order a vile child sex doll. This is not only disturbing – but also endangers the most innocent among us,” Donovan said in a statement. “Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child.”