It’s over, at least for now.
When city of Houston lawyers settled a public nuisance lawsuit against Treasures last December, Harris County attorneys continued to pursue the jointly filed case, saying they needed more assurances from the strip club that it would operate above board.
Under a late-Monday settlement with the club, however, county attorneys all but pointed to the city settlement and added, “What they said.”
The agreement comes even as the plaintiffs acknowledge Treasures has violated its agreement with the city four times since December.
Just as club owner Ali Davari will pay the city $100,000 to assist the Houston Police Department in efforts to combat human trafficking, the latest agreement also will see Davari pay $100,000 to cover the county attorney’s costs. The settlement achieves enforcement beyond the city’s stipulations, First Assistant County Attorney Robert Soard said, noting Treasures must add an additional manager for weekday day shifts and for night shifts every day.
The settlement also requires Treasures managers to attend a class on human trafficking, and the club must amend the paperwork it gives independent contractors – typically, dancers – by adding language about trafficking, including a hot line victims can call.
“Yet again, they put all the responsibility on the victims, an impossible situation if they are being exploited,” said Dottie Laster, a New Braunfels-based human trafficking expert who said she is frustrated by both settlements. “It sounds like a fairy tale agreement, that the signatories are choosing to believe people aren’t being exploited, that it’s more likely everyone in there is willing.”
I don’t really know what to say to that, so let me point you to Dottie Laster’s website for more information. Look around a little and you’ll find a link to this story about the time Ann Johnson, Democratic candidate for HD134 last year, successfully argued before the State Supreme Court that minors should not be prosecuted for prostitution. Worth your time to look around Ms. Laster’s website and see what resources she has.