Could a sex robot brothel open in Houston? Your questions answered

HOUSTON – Houston will soon be home to the first “robot brothel" in the country as long as Mayor Sylvester Turner grants his "blessing," the company owner said.

Yuval Gavriel operates "Kinky S Robots" in Toronto, Canada, where customers can rent life-like sex robots for $120 an hour and buy them for between $2,500 and $10,000.

"We're ready as soon as we get the get-go,” Gavriel said. "We’re legal people." 

Here are answers to some questions about the business.

What is Kinky S Dolls?

The company's website describes Kinky S Dolls as the first "Adult Love Dolls Brothel in North America." 

Gavriel said in an interview last week with the Washington Examiner that the Houston location will feature on-site, short-term, private rentals allowing customers to test the sex robots and decide whether to buy them.

“We entertain men, women, transsexuals,” Gavriel said. “I think it’s a great thing.”

Where will it be located?

It's not clear at this point where it will be located. A spokesperson for the Houston Permitting Center told KPRC2 that Kinky S Dolls would need a certificate of occupancy as either a business or mercantile, but it can't verify if there is an application for one because it does not have an exact address for the company.

Gavriel said he plans to open "right next to" a few strip clubs off Richmond Avenue in the Galleria area.

"They're using humans," Gavriel said. "We're just using robots."

Do any city ordinances regulate or limit a business like this?

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday he was asking the city's legal department to see if any existing ordinances apply to Kinky S Dolls and whether any changes need to be made. 

"It's not the sort of business that we advertise for or seek to attract or quite frankly that I want in the city of Houston," Turner said. 

Gavriel said he would like to get the mayor's blessing, but his attorneys told him it's not a requirement.

"We want to open peacefully and without opposition from any group," Gavriel said.

He said Houston was chosen, in part, because it doesn't regulate sex robots.

Who's against it?

A growing movement to stop Kinky S Dolls is being led by Elijah Rising, a Houston nonprofit dedicated to ending sex trafficking. The organization started a petition that now has 7,500 signatures.

"These rape bots are mechanized pornography and everything we know about porn fueling the demand for real women, real children in the sex-trafficking industry is going to apply to this robot brothel," said Executive Director Micah Gamboa. 

Gavriel strongly disagreed and promised to open 10 Kinky S Robots locations in the United States over the next couple of years, starting in Houston.

"We're doing the exact opposite of prostitution," Gavriel said. "We're here to prevent prostitution."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from a phone interview conducted by KPRC2's Jacob Rascon with the owner of the business that happened after this story was originally published.

About the Authors:

Emmy-winning journalist, native Houstonian, reader, dancer, yogi.