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Before anyone starts screaming at me that I don’t support this new bill placing tougher regulations on strip clubs and establishing the Sex Trafficking Survivors Leadership Council in Jacksonville, hear me out. I can speak to this issue because I have a family member who was sex trafficked so it is near and dear to my heart.

I applaud and send a big fat WINK to City Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber, who helped author the sex trafficking bill. We also send a big fat WINK to Mayor Curry for signing it into law. This is a great step forward to eradicate this evil from our community.

Sex trafficking is a huge issue not only locally but nationally and internationally as well. It is probably one of the most evil examples of crimes against humanity and it should be stopped!!

This new legislation looks like a good first step and could probably use more teeth. The biggest part of the bill is the increase the age from 18 to 21 for erotic dancers (the bill stated “erotic dance performers” which seems a little too artistic for this writer). What we need are stronger laws that will send the likes of these traffickers to the depths of any prison they end up in. They should never see the light of day ever again!! Period.

And that is why I am confused. I wonder why more teeth were not involved here. I wonder why City Councilwoman Cumber would go after strip clubs with a fine — which they can easily pay — instead of forcing them to shut down as she did with the adult arcades. We wrote about her push to get them shut down and how quickly she made that happen here:

City Council gambles no one will research the loss of 2,700 jobs & a possible tie to campaign contributions

Ms. Cumber was like a chihuahua with teeth biting at the ankles of adult arcade owners. She would not let up until they shut down. The reasons they said it was necessary to shut down the adult arcades was SAFETY, PUBLIC NUISANCE, AND NEARBY SCHOOLS.

Questions: Doesn’t that apply to Strip Clubs where Sex Trafficking is occurring? Why one set of rules for Adult Arcades and another for Adult Strip Clubs? Why can one stay open and the other had to close? What makes the city council think Strip Clubs involved in sex trafficking should remain open? What’s going on here?

Plain and simple – it comes down to who’s padding whose campaigns and our article above captures some of that information. Why create a “soft bill” to keep women safe from sex trafficking at clubs? Couldn’t they instead shut them down now and not worry about the issue anymore with a bill that is full of teeth and venom towards these clubs? Isn’t sex trafficking more serious than a bunch of grey haired people playing arcades?

Is this right? Is this fair?

Are the scales of justice really balanced on the City Council? Who decides what is fair?

We don’t know. We can only shine a light on the issue and let the people decide.

The people are you. The voters who put our city councilmen in charge of making laws for our community. If you are happy with what they are doing, let them know. If you aren’t happy, let them know. You can find your city council member at https://www.coj.net/city-council.aspx.

Let them know how you feel about this issue or any others that are tugging at your heart strings and especially those that seem hypocritical and unfair.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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