HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It seems a business that rents and sells sex robots has plans to move to Houston in the Galleria area and open in just a few days. The possibility has sparked outrage among some Houstonians.
The Canadian company called KinkySdollS says it's opening its first sex robot shop in the United States right here on Richmond Avenue. What happens in a place like that? People pay to have "relations" with a robot.
What do you think of Houston having this, a business where buyers go to have sex with realistic looking robots? "This is not the sort of business I'm seeking to attract, OK?" answers Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"It's only going to further strengthen those negative sexual objectifications in men. Teaching them they can dehumanize and purchase a woman or even a child for sex," adds Micah Gamboa Executive Director of Houston's Elijah Rising. Gamboa has been fighting human trafficking for years. She calls this robot sex company extremely dangerous.
"These type of businesses lure men whose fantasies are so deviant, even for the businesses. Businesses in other countries like this have actually had to turn away buyers because of their crazy deviant and destructive rape fantasies," explains Gamboa.
The Toronto company that rents and sells these sex robots calls them "love dolls". Gamboa calls them rape-bots. "These robots are used specifically for rape. They can't give consent and it bypasses every natural, human, giving of consent, mutual affection in a relationship."
The robots start at $2,600 to buy but increase in price for one that's heated and can talk. Renting one for a few minutes or a couple hours costs significantly less.
"It's not the sort of business that we advertise for, that we seek to attract or quite frankly from my point of view that we want in the City of Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In fact, the mayor has the city's legal department looking into if there are any laws that can keep this company from coming here.
"I'm not trying to be the moral police but I am charged with the health and safety of the people within our city," Mayor Turner says.
The Mayor also has the Houston Health Department researching the potential public health risk.
"We're going to look into what are the implications of multiple people using a sexbot? Is there a proper way to clean it?" explains Porfirio Villareal with the Health Department. Villareal says coming in contact with bodily fluid or even residue from a previous renter could leave the user exposed to an STD at a time when at least one disease is already on the rise. "Here in Houston and Harris County we've seen a 59 percent increase in terms of syphilis."
Elijah Rising has a petition to keep the company from coming to Houston. Nearly 8,000 people have signed so far. You can find the petition at www.ElijahRising.org.
Gamboa says to the people who believe having sex with a lifelike robot isn't hurting anyone, "We see this in sex trafficking all the time. Sex buyers are no longer good with just pornography. They want to go out and get a woman to act out deviant fantasies on. The same is going to happen with these mechanized dolls." She says the robot likely won't satisfy them for long.
We reached out to the company but our calls, text messages and emails were not immediately returned.