A Labour feminist councillor has blasted the Scottish Government for not banning sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) and calls for a de facto ban via a no drinks policy.
Edinburgh City Council is expected to press ahead with introducing a licensing
regime for sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) after 65^ of people asked in a consultation backed a licensing regime.
The authority's regulatory officers said that it is clear there is strong support for the introduction of a licensing system for
SEVs, but acknowledged there are a broad range of views concerning banning some of them via a cap on the number of venues or where SEVs can operate.
Labour Cllr Mandy Watt, who works for Rape Crisis Scotland spouted:
Sexual entertainment venues are relics of the past and they don't have a place in a modern city that values equality.
Instead the Scottish Government has passed onto councils a framework to try to work within
when they simply should have banned them outright.
Given that they have not been banned, we should have a licensing system that should be very stringent around harm reduction.
Sexual entertainment and
alcohol are not a good mix. I would be keen to see venues having to surrender their alcohol licence and alcohol not be consumed on the premises.
Shiri Shalmy, organiser for the group United Strippers of the World, said:
As the trade union representing dancers working in strip clubs across Scotland, we welcome Edinburgh Council's move to make clubs safer places for everyone involved.
As part of the consultation
process, we urged the council to listen to the people who know the most about working conditions in strip clubs - the dancers themselves.
They are legal workplaces that support many women and families and should be considered with
the same scrutiny as any other late night venues.
In particular, we want to ensure that dancers will no longer be misclassified as 'independent contractors' and could benefit from the rights they should have as workers, including
the right to sick pay, holiday leave, a guaranteed minimum pay for all hours worked and access to trade union representation.
We hope that the introduction of SEV licensing will not lead to a decrease in the number of clubs. They
are legal workplaces that support many women and families and should be considered with the same scrutiny as any other late night venues. Dancers already suffer unfair stigma and marginalisation - they shouldn't be penalised further.
Spearmint Rhino strip club in Sheffield had its licence renewed after the council ruled covertly recorded footage of dancers breaking no-touching rules filmed without consent should not force its closure.
Dancers at Spearmint Rhino celebrated the
ruling, made after eight hours of heated testimony from both sides. Dancers had accused campaigners who made the undercover recordings of revenge porn tactics.
A coalition of feminist groups that had sought the club's closure condemned the
decision and said they would continue to fight for the venue to be closed.
The feminist campaign group Not Buying It hired investigators to go undercover and make covert recordings in the club in February. The footage led to a council
investigation which found that some dancers had been sexually touching customers, themselves and each other.
Despite the breaches, the council said the renewal application would be granted. It said it would publish a full notice explaining its
Moralist councillors in Ealing want to stop handing out sexual entertainment venue licences because they do not support 'their' vision for the borough and the night-time economy.
It comes after the borough's only lap dancing club was stripped of its
licence following an inspection last June, when an undercover council officer said a dancer offered to perform a sex act on them in exchange for cash.
During the visit to LA Confidential inspectors were told that, for £100, they could go into a
private room for a lap dance where they could touch the naked dancers and let the women touch them, claimed the council. They also said they found a 20-year-old dancer working at the club, flouting the council's minimum age policy of 21.
in Ealing High Street closed its doors last month following an extended legal battle with the council over the licensing decision.
The government has spent many years strangling casual work with an ever increasing amount of onerous red tape. Now it has proved itself to be rather desperate for ideas when suggesting jobs for those without qualification. A government DWP web page
listed dances in adult entertainment establishments as one option for jobseekers.
But of course this idea is a little politically incorrect so had to be hastily withdrawn when it was noticed. And of course claim that it was some sort ofawful
The Department for Work and Pensions site - titled work you could do - suggested claimants could search the phrase striptease artist online to find vacancies. Other job suggestions on the same page included becoming a fortune-teller or
loading a Bingo machine.
The Mirror was able to browse the page on Tuesday but it has since been taken offline, hours after concerns were raised on an online welfare forum.
A DWP spokesman admitted:
is inappropriate and we will immediately review this to determine why it is mistakenly listed.
This is not the type of employment our work coaches help people into.
A Whitehall source suggested the information
had been sourced from a list of professions on the Office for National Statistics.
Edinburgh's lap dancers have pointed out that banning strip clubs will force dancers to the unregulated underworld.
Edinburgh's consultation on Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) is coming to an end but dancers note that the consultation focuses
on how best to drive strip clubs out of the public eye and could force stripping into criminality.
Shiri, a union representative for strippers at United Voices of the World, said:
The motivation to criminalise
dancers in clubs comes from a middle-class, feminist point of view. Predominantly those who will suffer from any action to making working in strip clubs harder, are working-class women, who have fewer choices when it comes to career options -- many will
be supporting family members or having to work around other commitments.
Creating conditions that criminalise, rather than protect dancers, will only force women underground, where they will face greater dangers to their safety
and no protections when it comes to workers' rights.
We believe this consultation should take dancers' views into consideration -- they are the people who will be most affected.
Stacey Clare, who has worked in
Edinburgh's West Port clubs for years, said:
We are working very hard with two trade unions to establish workers' rights in our industry, which has long failed to observe correct employment laws.
If strip clubs are shut down we lose the opportunity to do that, and we are pushed further into the precarious gig economy, where it is a lot harder to establish workers' rights.
A Blackpool lap dancing club has been stripped of its licence following an incident in which a customer was burned during a performance involving an aerosol can and a cigarette lighter.
Blackpool Council's public protection sub-committee refused to
renew the sexual entertainment venue licence for Eden One on Queen Street.
A customer at the lap dancing club complained he had received second degree burns to his torso during a visit to the premises in June.
Councillors viewed CCTV of the
incident during their meeting at the town hall, together with stills from the CCTV, which showed other breaches of licence conditions. The refusal notice sates:
The sub-committee was concerned about the lack of
management oversight and the breach of existing conditions and were not satisfied that the proposed conditions would result in greater compliance in the future. Accordingly, the sub-committee refused the application for renewal of the licence.
The venue has the right to appeal against this decision and the premises may continue to trade pending the outcome of any appeal.
The sister of an adult online performer who died during a sexual role play game gone wrong has called for strict new webcamming pornography laws.
Hope Barden was found asphyxiated after carrying out a sex act on the internet for a customer 250
miles away. A coroner has now ruled she was unlawfully killed and Hope's mother said she was left to die. He added that the extent of his encouragement to her to carry out this act and his failure to report appropriately when she lost consciousness
makes it clear that the male was so subjectively reckless as to amount to manslaughter.
It is understood a file was being prepared by police for submission to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charging the man with Hope's manslaughter. The
man has already been jailed after a police investigation found extreme pornography in his possession.
The government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said certain online adult content should not be permitted under extreme
pornography laws falling within the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 . Violent, obscene acts that are non-consensual or involve other criminal activity would be investigated by the law enforcement agencies, DCMS said.
Hope's sister Lily
said there needs to be specific guidelines in the online sex industry where the performer and the punter clearly understand what is and is not acceptable by law. The main thing that isn't acceptable is being able to watch someone (potentially) die on
webcam and then not do anything about it, she said. She is also seeking a legal online contract between the webcam performer and consumer for a clear code of conduct.
Aberdeen city council has revoked the licence for The Mask lap dancing club after a request from Police Scotland. The police claimed that staff were watering down drinks and overcharging customers for intimate shows.
Apart from the overcharging and
diluted drinks allegations, police were also concerned that the club was breaching licensing conditions by having no personal licence holder present after 1am and no one able to operate the CCTV system.
The Liberal Democrats have said Manchester City Council is wrong to welcome undercover video footage from the anti-strip club campaign group Not Buying It .
The party, which has long-believed in legalising sex-work including prostitution, has
warned that if the footage was to leak it could seriously endanger the safety of the workers.
Dancers and strippers involved said they are terrified after the anti-sex work group filmed private strip dances in Manchester-based Victoria's and
Not Buying It claims to have footage of sexual acts being offered and breaches of licensing rules.
Manchester City Council said officials have launched an investigation into the two clubs after the footage from Not Buying
It was presented to them. A spokesperson said: We thank Not Buying It for bringing this matter to our attention.
The United Voices of the World Union (UVW) have compared the covert filming to revenge porn, whilst the pro-sex work Liberal Democrats
criticised the move as a completely inappropriate invasion of privacy. The party's Equalities Spokesperson April Preston said she was appalled that Manchester Council has welcomed the footage and hopes the same level of scrutiny is applied to the strip
club bosses. Describing it as entrapment, Preston added:
Instead of going after workers, Liberal Democrats would legalise sex work and focus on the safety and employment rights of women.
fully support unionisation to ensure the same scrutiny and accountability you would find in any other line of work and will work with anyone to help reinforce this.
The brainchild of one Sandra White MSP, over the last 15 years has been to launch public consultation after public consultation in attempts to close down Glasgow's adult entertainment venues.
The latest is an ongoing
consultation which ends in August seeking to license the clubs in a way which could see them closed down for good.
When I was on national TV a few days ago debating the issue with Sandra, she said she hadn't engaged with dancers
many years ago when they petitioned for her to meet with them because she didn't believe it came from the girls themselves.
What she fails to acknowledge time and time again is that dancers in Glasgow's adult entertainment venues
are happy, safe and want to keep their jobs! Workers within the clubs are also becoming unionised with GMB union.
There are around 700 dancers working across Scotland and it's time she asked them! I want to live in a Scotland
which is progressive and recognises the right of a woman to have autonomy over her own body.
Please sign the petition and spread the word! We want as much tangible info as possible to feed into our wider campaign to keep the clubs
Strip club dancers have marched through Sheffield to oppose plans to close Spearmint Rhino.
The brightly-dressed protesters stopped traffic in Sheffield city centre, braving driving rain between the Brown Street club and Sheffield Town Hall.
Sheffield's Spearmint Rhino club was targeted by feminist extremists who commissioned private detectives to obtain video evidence and report on anything untoward. They claimed to have filmed inappropriate sexual contact clearly without the consent of the participants. Surely such filming would be illegal so perhaps these may be just claims.
The dancers and supporters, including Sheffield Hallam University women's officer Gabby Willis, told marchers filming of that sort should be classed as revenge porn. Ms Willis said she supported the dancers' right to earn money however they
choose. She said:
I think it's really important we stand by women's choice to do that in a safe environment for their job, if they want to.
Club worker Rachael McCoy told protesters:
This is really important to us. This is our livelihoods. I'm a single mother. This job helps me feed my children. This job has actually changed my life for the better.
Plans to create a lap-dancing club have been rejected by Wrexham council.
The owners of XS Wrexham wanted to host full nudity nights twice a week to spice up the town's nightlife which, they said, is in severe decline.
However the council
turned down the licence application citing a number of moral concerns. Councillor Krista Childs openly admitted that it was a moral issue. She said:
It's not just a moral issue, it's about generations of children,
young people and women and how they're looked upon. We should maximise the safety and well-being of women and I don't think this has a place.
Bar owner David Thomas, chairman of the Wrexham Night Safe and Pub Watch schemes, outlined
steps that would be taken to ensure the safety of dancers, customers and the public, including a no-touching policy and the presence of security guards. He also claimed some bars and clubs in the town were at risk of closing if there was no change to the
entertainment on offer.
Two private detectives posed as customers at Manchester lap dancing clubs with view to exposing sexy goings on in private dances. An aggressive feminist campaign called Not Buying It have presented a report of the pair's findings, including video
footage, to Manchester City Council.
The private investigators, spent up to £80 a time on lap dances at Victoria's, at Dantzic Street, and Obsessions, at Whitworth Street West, before recording details of their encounters with the women.
The campaigners claim that what went on at the clubs during the course of the private investigation not only breached the venues' own rules but amounted to sexual contact with punters - behaviour which they claim would breach licensing rules. Other reports add that the campaigners are describing the claimed sexual contact to be 'foreplay'.
Manchester council have now launched their own investigation into the clubs Obsessions and Victoria's.
Voices of the World members, including a growing number of strippers, are appalled by the latest tactic of the Women's Equality Party (WEP) in their misguided campaign to abolish strip clubs for the imagined benefit of the women involved. In Sheffield
and Manchester, men hired by the WEP covertly filmed nude and semi-nude dancers in legal strip clubs.
In their self-appointed mission to save dancers, the WEP continues to put women's livelihoods at risk, while ignoring the
explicit wishes of the women involved. As a feminist trade union, UVW is extremely alarmed by this practice. We will be seeking legal remedies for our members, and offer solidarity to all dancers affected by this harmful behaviour.
Filming people undercover, without explicit and direct consent and in clear violation of their right to privacy, is not just immoral -- it is unlawful. Sharing what could amount to revenge porn of naked women, obtained with the
explicit aim to undermine and harm them, constitutes harassment and misuse of private information under UK law.
We demand that the WEP and its collaborators destroy immediately all footage obtained illegally inside clubs and
apologise to the dancers. Dancers have made it clear that they don't need rescuing, They need a dignified workplace where they can earn a living to support themselves and their families.
Women choose to work in strip clubs for the
same reasons people choose a wide variety of jobs: funding university studies, family needs, a disability and a scarcity of other work options. All of them are working because they need to make a living under increasingly difficult conditions 204
extortionate housing costs, inaccessible and inadequate benefits, lack of childcare and falling wages in other industries.
Amnesty International and the World Health Organisation have repeatedly declared that workers in the sex
industry are best served by laws and policies that seek to maintain their employment rights and involve them in meaningful participation in any discussion of law and policy that affects their lives and safety.
We demand that the
WEP cease its campaign of harassment and intimidation against dancers in Sheffield, Manchester and elsewhere. If they want to help women, they should campaign against austerity measures and poverty wages. Reducing women's job options is active harm to
their livelihoods. If they want to help dancers working in clubs, they are welcome to join UVW's unionising efforts, listen to women and support them on their own terms.
Workers are best placed to advocate for their own rights and
safety at work, and dancers across the UK are organising to ensure that protections from harassment, intimidation and exploitation are in place. UVW is currently seeking recognition in a number of clubs in order to represent our workers' collective
An internet user who downloaded illegal pornographic images of adults having sex with animals has been to a community order for two years with rehabilitation requirements.
Police found 71 bestiality pictures and movies on computer devices when they
raided his home in August last year. The victim admitted possessing extreme pornography.
Judge Tim Gittins lectured the victim claiming:
The items are illegal and the items do untold damage, not just to the
animals involved but also to those who you erroneously believe are volunteering. Very often the adults are coerced into doing what they are doing.
The images themselves give no indication of the sort of dreadful situation they
find themselves in or the damage being caused by them knowing that such items are available for viewing by others.
It perpetuates the damage that people like you download and retain them.
Carlisle Council has rejected an application to open a new gentleman's club to be named PC Lounge. The plans had been tabled by nightclub owner Lee Weatherley who wanted to open the club on the site of the Rewind Bar and Grill, previously Mint, in
But licensing bosses refused to grant a licence for a sexual entertainment venue following objections from businesses including the Ibis hotel, the Vue cinema and the Hebron Evangelical Church. The council also received 16 objections
Barrister Leo Charalambides QC spekaing for the venue noted:
I'm surprised to see a representation from a cinema given that when I go into a cinema lobby I'm as likely to see an advert for Fifty
Shades of Grey which promotes sadomasochistic violence against partners, it encourages restraint. I may also see posters that encourage affairs, infidelity, guns, violence drug-taking and other forms of behaviour.
Speaking of the
Rouge Culb on teh same street, Councillor John Bell, chairman of the regulatory panel, said:
The panel considers that another sex establishment would exceed what the panel considers appropriate for the locality.
The granting of the licence would be inappropriate having regard to the character of the area, namely the proximity of a place of worship, residential premises, an hotel and a cinema.