A lawyer representing adult entertainment venues says his clients will sue Georgia over the state’s new anti-trafficking law, which provides for a victims fund that is financed in part through a new tax on the red light establishments.
Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday signed the Safe Harbor Law, which sets strict penalties for those convicted of human trafficking and creates a new state fund to cover healthcare, housing, and counseling bills for victims of the sex trade.
The cost of the new fund will be covered by charging pimps a $2,500 fine and fixing an annual $5,000 operating fee on strip clubs, though the question of whether the clubs will pay into the fund will be decided next year by voters.
Atlanta attorney Alan Begner, whose practice represents nearly two-thirds of strip clubs in the capital city, said he could “certainly guarantee the law will be challenged,” but couldn’t specify the number of petitioners who’d bring suit. At issue, he said, is the club owners’ protected speech.
“Nude dancing is protected under the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions, and speech cannot be taxed,” he told Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE Wednesday.