Joann, a Certified Financial Crimes Investigator, recently posted this article on LinkedIn: Fighting City of Houston's deal with Strip Clubs, with the following comment:
"Lap dances are once again legal at certain Houston topless clubs that have agreed to pay the city a combined $1 million every year to help combat human trafficking." Does this make sense to anyone?
The conversation in the comments that followed is quite noteworthy and the truth in their words should be shared, and shared, and shared again!
Those who shared their ‘three cents’ are to be applauded. Except for Ronald that is, a retired Transportation/Instructor. His words epitomize the current attitude of our culture and the very need for the rest of us to work together and stay engaged in this ongoing battle.
Ronald commented: If the dancers are American citizens or LEGAL Visa citizens of Mexico, I see no reason for the hassle. I have spent many a night as a truck driver in Laredo, Nogales, Adam and a lot more towards the area of El Paso many a times. And I have watched the 'ladies of the Night.' as they went truck to truck, went into the truckstop bathrooms, cleaned up and came right back out to continue as 'lot lizards.' At least in the nightclubs, they are watched over by Bouncers, who see that they are not mistreated by customers, they don't mistreat or Rob customers, and they are required health checkups. Most of these girls work like this because they do not have an education or the job supplies the needed financial support for a good education. So, It's really no Biggie Deal!! Tell the wives if they don't like hubby watchin the younger and sexiers girls, Get the hubbies outta the nightclubs and start getting rid of the Fat or Shape Up.
Avra, Co-organizer of Fight Slavery Now! answered: Mr. Joy, I am appalled by your comment.
This is not an immigration enforcement issue. It is a human rights issue. Women are grossly exploited in furtherance of a culture that commodifies sexuality. Being treated like a piece of meat giving 'lap dances' to sad and lonely men is not mistreatment? As long as no one is getting slapped around or robbed, everything is okay? And any fault lies naturally with the wives of the knuckleheads who support this exploitation?
Wrong, wrong and wrong. Prostitution, sex trafficking, strip clubs, pornography and the entire so-called "adult entertainment" industry are inextricably intertwined with the exploitation of women and girls by normalizing their being regarded as mere objects whose function is to pleasure any men willing to pay. Your comment concerning the wives of patrons is indicative of that neanderthal attitude.
For the government to promote and seek to profit from this kind of degradation of women and girls is possible only in a highly patriarchal society. For them to do it under the guise of attempting to reduce human trafficking is disingenuous at best. It's all about money and sexploitation. That the government is willing to allow this, without any vote, for a million dollar fee, illustrates the moral bankruptcy of Houston's mayoral office.
Just my three cents.
Peace, Justice and Freedom...
Cailin, Founder of Humanitarian Alliance added her three cents: I am equally appalled. If demand increases, so will supply. EVERY advocate on combatting trafficking KNOWS this. Further, exploitation of any form should never be casually accepted as the 'norm'. I cannot believe anyone would actually try to justify this type of human degradation. Particularly knowing the devastating impact pornography has on attitudes toward women and male entitlement. What you suggest is absurd. And, to refer to girls exploited at truck stops as lizards sums up your attitude in general. Healthy sexuality has nothing to do with exploitation. That is a typical false equivalency.
Peter F, a Customs and Border Protection Officer added his comment: As someone who works human trafficking, I can see the point to Ronald's comment. The cold reality is that sexual entertainment isn't going to go away, but what I applaud Houston for doing is recognizing this, regulating it, and using the tax money for a targeted purpose rather than revenue enhancement. Anyone who says underground lap dances aren't happening is naive; at least at these clubs, the employees are somewhat protected from pimps, violence, and the like. By regulating it, a customer can go to a regulated club rather than a less safe underground establishment.
A Detective at Dallas Police Department, Michael M, spoke up: If you allow lap dances, in other words contact between the dancer and the customer, you will not be able to prevent prostitution in the clubs. Even if club management is not actively allowing prostitution it will be occurring. If you think pimps aren't in strip clubs you're wrong. They are in every club, especially the lower class one, but in all clubs. They recruit there, and they put their girls in the clubs to make them their money. Houston is just getting a tax payment off the trafficking that is going on in the clubs.
Avra’s next answer should be published in training material!: Officer Fellenz: "The cold reality is that sexual entertainment isn't going to go away"
The concept of "sexual entertainment" is in itself quite chilling. Since when did sexual contact in public become an acceptable form of entertainment? To the extent that this has sadly become normalized, how much sadder to have the government put its imprimatur upon it, so long as it can extract its pound of flesh.
Cockroaches are not going away either. But I don't think we should be setting up a feeding station for them in our houses. I suggest shining a harsh light and stomping every bugger we can. If they can't be eradicated, they can at least be contained and certainly made to feel unwelcome.
What any consenting adults do sexually in private is rightfully their own business entirely.
Sexual services offered for money, in a public establishment licensed to serve alcohol, is a matter of public concern and an area over which public policy has a proper place. It is my opinion that the public's interest is best served by not encouraging, condoning or permitting such rank degradation of women for profit by bar owners.
The harm is threefold.
1. Women are being exploited. They frequently do not get to keep the money being paid for the service. They are pressured to perform. They are further pressured to to move up the sexploitation ladder to work as 'escorts' or in other more overtly sexual capacities. The owners of these establishments are not enlightened benefactors. Often these clubs are controlled by organized crime. Violence, or the threat of it, pervade most of these operations. Running strip clubs is not a pretty business. Neither is working in one. Would you have any misgivings about your wife/daughter/sister/mother working there? Why?
2. Patrons are being exploited and brainwashed. You may call it exotic dancing, but it's still a titty bar. Drinks are watered down and overpriced. "Bottle service" at a so-called VIP room will run upwards of $200 for a bottle of bar booze. But that gets you 'access' to nude women. So what is really being sold is the idea that no matter how bad you look, how stupid you may be, or how totally lacking in social grace... if you've got the bucks, you can buy a woman. They are merely commodities. Is that a message you think the government should endorse?
3. The social fabric is coarsened, corroded, and corrupted. In many neighborhoods children walk by these establishments. They see the men handing out cards to potential customers. What message are we sending when we normalize the sexual exploitation of women and girls. The idea of honest regulation is naive. There will be irregularities. They will be overlooked. There will be envelopes stuffed with small bills exchanging hands.
Shut down the strip clubs.
Just my three cents...
If the next comment were your three cents, what would it be?