Reaching Settlement in the City of Jacksonville
April 6, 2022
On March 22, 2022, reporters announced a victory for the sex work community. In a recent settlement, the City of Jacksonville, Florida will pay $60,000 to plaintiffs—local strip clubs and dancers—and the police will be subject to new restrictions. Vic Micolucci explains that the $60,000 goes toward damages from the clubs being closed for police searches, and toward the dancers who were arrested for code violations, from not wearing enough clothing to getting too close to customers. Police are required to delete photos of dancers after the legal time to store them under state records laws elapses, and undercover cops need a warrant.
The City of Jacksonville isn’t owed commendation for paying damages for the harm it caused, nor is it owed commendation for agreeing that its police must respect dancers’ rights. While these are certainly steps forward, there is much more justice to be done.
Alex Andrews, Director of Woodhull’s Human Rights Commissions, offers a thoughtful comment on what those next steps ultimately need to be: “The human rights of these adult businesses and workers in Jacksonville have been egregiously violated and, while it’s a positive sign, the inadequate settlement is not enough. For real, lasting change, especially if the state of Florida really wants to end exploitation, the first step is to stop arresting sex workers for code violations and, instead, have them as an integral part of the conversation!”
Andrews speaks for all of us at Woodhull, where we believe that sex workers deserve to exercise their fundamental human right to sexual freedom without fear of criminal fines, arrest, or other carceral punishment.