Mayor: Sex doll brothels are not happening in Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 12, 2019


You’ve probably heard the rumors about sex doll brothels possibly coming to the city.

According to Mayor Ken Siver, it’s not happening, and it never was going to happen.

Numerous rumors swirled last week claiming that the city had received a proposal for a sex doll brothel.

A sex doll brothel, according to reports, is a place where people can make an appointment and pay to have sex with dolls, which are cleaned between appointments.

There are reportedly several sex doll brothels in the world — one in Toronto — but none in the U.S.

Legally speaking, the brothels operate in a somewhat gray area, as they don’t technically violate most state prostitution laws.

In October, plans to open a sex doll brothel in Houston were thwarted after the Houston City Council amended an existing ordinance to forbid business patrons from engaging in sexual acts with inanimate objects.

Siver said that the city has never even entertained the idea of a sex doll brothel — the city only just received an inquiry.

“Last spring somebody called planning and inquired about the possibility. They didn’t have a site in mind. Every single day people come in or call and make inquiries, saying, ‘I’m thinking about doing this business and doing it in Southfield.’ This person made this random call here. We do no permit sexually oriented businesses in Southfield, but it’s specific to adult bookstores and adult shops,” Siver said. “There’s nothing specific about sex doll brothels.”

After the Planning Department fielded the call, Siver said, City Planner Terry Croad came to the City Council and informed council members of the inquiry.

“(Croad) came to council and said, ‘I don’t know if they’re going to call back, but we really have nothing on the books that specifically addresses this,’ because who knew of a sex doll brothel?” Siver said.

Croad, the council and City Attorney Elizabeth Rae-O’Donnell decided to place a 180-day moratorium on the matter until it could be studied further.  It was unanimously approved at the June 25, 2018, meeting.

After the initial 180 days were up, the council again unanimously approved another 180-day moratorium at the Dec. 17, 2018, meeting.

During this period, Croad said, the Planning Department is doing research on sex doll brothels in order to make a recommendation to council on whether or not they should amend an existing ordinance to either allow or outlaw the brothels.

The Planning Department will also be studying state law and federal law in regard to the inquiry.

“It is under moratorium. There’s no application, and we are doing our due diligence to bring it back to council sometime in the spring or fall,” Croad said.
However, Siver said residents need not worry about the council approving such a thing.

“It was never a plan. We’ve had a lot of calls and emails about it, and it’s not going to happen,” he said. “There is no support whatsoever about this in Southfield, and it’s not something reflective of our community values.”