Now my first thought when reading the title "Age Limit For Strip Club Dancers Removed From Bill In Legislature" from NOLA.com had me a little upset. My first thought was a limit? How old was too old to be a stripper?
But then it became clear that I forgot that age limits go both ways and that is where the bill was directed, toward the lower age cut off to ban strippers under the age of 20. The proposed lower age limit for dancers in strip clubs was actually passed last year, but was found unconstitutional last year at the federal level.
What we need to understand is why the age limit was considered in the first place. The attempt was to fight human trafficking in Louisiana.
An amendment from state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, on Tuesday (May 9) essentially gutted the legislation's age provisions and replaced it with a human trafficking training program that adult entertainment businesses would have to provide.
The move to gut the bill is a stunning turnabout from the legislation last year, which the House and Senate approved unanimously. Last year's law was challenged in federal court and found unconstitutional, but the judge in the case said that the age limit provision could pass constitutional muster if several areas of Louisiana alcohol regulations were more clearly defined — especially conflicts in separate areas of the law about the clothing dancers wear in adult-oriented clubs.
Morrell's amendment does not seek to align the bill with the issues Barbier raised. Instead, it provides a requirement that adult-oriented businesses, which the amendment says will include adult novelty shops, strip clubs and truck stops, provide training for all employees on how to spot and report human trafficking.
The amended bill also includes penalties for violating the law. They include the loss of a business' liquor license if human trafficking is found to have occurred on site. Morrell said he thought it was important that his amendment cover everyone, regardless of age.
Last year's law and this year's bill, authored by state Sen. Ronnie Johns, is based on a New Orleans ordinance its City Council approved in 2016 limiting strip clubs to featuring dancers who are 21 or older.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu supports the current legislation, but state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, questioned why no one from the administration testified in support of the bill. The mayor's office declined to comment for this story.
Morrell and Peterson, who are often in sync with Landrieu-supported legislation and both voted in favor of last year's bill, were among those on the committee who were most critical of this year's proposal. Morrell indicated he thought the bill would have difficulty making it through committee without his amendment, and Peterson said she wanted to see more data about strip clubs' connection with human trafficking. – NOLA.com
National data about the connection between strip clubs and human trafficking is difficult to find, but researchers are challenged to find reliable statistics on the broader problem beyond the adult entertainment industry. In the New Orleans region, much of the evidence linking human trafficking to strip clubs is anecdotal.
The state also argued that women who dance in strip clubs are also more likely to be recruited by pimps and be exposed to illegal drugs, and that women who are younger than 21 are more likely to be duped into working in the sex trade. Much of the state's case sought to convince the court that working in strip clubs exposed women to what are known as "secondary effects" — a standard that has been upheld in arguing that people under the age of 21 should not be allowed to purchase alcohol.
For instance, trafficking victims could decide to dance in clubs after they are already working for a pimp. Or they may have connected with a pimp outside a club where they were already dancing.
There are indications that human trafficking cases are being reported at a much higher rate in Louisiana, which is adding pressure for legislators and law enforcement to show they are doing something about the problem. Last month, the state Department of Children and Families issued a report finding a 25 percent increase in reported human trafficking cases. – NOLA.com
The article does elaborate more on the past bill, related occurrences in the past, and why the law is needed. It also focuses on female strippers coming from a trafficking past, but we know that it happens to men and gay men. Just 2 1/2 years ago, Three Gay Men Freed After Being Forced Into Sex Slave Ring In NYC & Miami.
Do you think there should be a minimum age limit for dancers/strippers?