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A ‘sex robot brothel’ plans to open in Texas — here’s why it’s entirely legal

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The man who runs Kinky S Dolls, the Toronto company often referred to as a “sex robot brothel,” says that’s not his business model — now that reports say he plans on selling his dolls and robots at a shop the U.S. before the end of the month.

Sure, the company’s website lists prices for things like an “incall” or an “outcall,” terms often used to identify where a paid escort’s “appointment” will be held. And sure, the language on the company’s Facebook page freely admits, and boasts, even, that Kinky S Dolls is “the first love dolls brothel” in North America.

But now that Yuval Gavriel, the owner of Kinky S Dolls, has confirmed to both the Washington Examiner and Houston television station KTRK that his sex bots are coming to Texas, he wants to be clear about drawing the distinction — that his company is not so much robo-brothel as it is a try-before-you-buy sex doll and robot emporium.

“I consulted with a lawyer and the lawyer said, ‘Listen, there are no rules to it, but if you are smart you don’t go out and say you are operating a brothel,’ ” Gavirel said, according to the Examiner. “He went through all the laws and all of the regulations and currently there are no regulations for this kind of service. The States is a bigger market, and a healthier market, and God bless Trump.”

Kinky S Dolls has hinted on Facebook since August that its first U.S. location would be in Houston. KTRK reported that Gavriel wants to open the Texas location as soon as next week. Robotics company RealDoll sold its robotic heads, powered by artificial intelligence and placed atop the body of a sex doll, for $15,000 at the end of 2017, according to the Guardian.

At least one Houston attorney, Steve Shellist, agrees with Gavriel’s lawyer, and told McClatchy that there are no laws at either the state or federal level that block this type of business from swinging the doors open to the era of robot love. The state could have previously blocked the sale of sex with robot dolls under its sex toy sales ban, but that ban was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in 2008.

“I think it was a calculated choice to try this in Houston,” Shellist told McClatchy. “In Tarrant and Dallas Counties, the [District Attorneys] there would be more likely to start a fight over it immediately. The Harris County DA is a little more liberal — obviously the company doesn’t believe they will be prosecuted in Harris County.”

Current Texas Governor Greg Abbott was the state attorney general, and current Sen. Ted Cruz was solicitor general, at the time the civil case that would eventually overturn the obscenity statute was brought to the courts by a sex shop in Austin.

“I don’t think there’s anything preventing the guy from doing this,” Shellist said. “I don’t know whether the city or county could step in and deny them a permit to do business, but usually when they do something like that to a business that is sexual in nature, they say, ‘you can’t operate within so many feet of a church or a school,’ or something like that. Aside from that I think the city or county is open to a lawsuit if they flat deny the business from coming in, based on the legal framework surrounding the issue as it stands now.”

But not everyone in Houston is accepting that. Elijah Rising, a Houston nonprofit aimed at ending sex trafficking, started a petition on Change.org to “keep robot brothels out of Houston.” That petition had more than 3,500 signatures by Friday afternoon.

“Our biggest concern is that this sex brothel with robots is gonna train men to become rapists,” Micah Gamboa, a spokeswoman for Elijah Rising, told KTRK. “What’s next? Is it child robots? Where’s the line? Where is the boundary?”

Actually, the issue of child sex robots is covered in the only federal action taken to date in the realm of robo-relations. Rep. Dan Donovan’s (R-N.Y.) House resolution, commonly referred to as the CREEPER Act, passed the House in Dec. 2017, and is being heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Govtrack.

The CREEPER Act would ban the interstate sale of sex robots made to look like children.

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