by Amanda Kloer
Rhode Island is the only state in the country that allows children under 18 to strip in clubs (though, ironically, not sit in the audience). Working in strip clubs exposes teens to increased risk of sex trafficking, violence, and abuse. So why won’t the Rhode Island state legislature add stripping to the list of occupations hazardous for teens?
The problem of teens in strip clubs first came to light in Rhode Island when police found a teenage girl beaten and bleeding in an apartment in Providence. She reported that she had been attacked while leaving her shift as a dancer at local strip club Cheaters. She was only 16. After that incident, a handful of clubs agreed to stop stop hiring girls under 18, but the majority have continued the practice. So Rep. Joanne M. Giannini introduced legislation that would add sexual performance and stripping to the list of occupations forbidden for children in the state. But that legislation was proposed over a year ago, and lawmakers have since allowed minors to continue to be exploited in Rhode Island strip clubs.
Now, anti-trafficking activist Jaclyn Munson has launched a campaign on Change.org to add sexual performance to the list of hazardous occupations for teens. She’s been sending letters to the governor of Rhode Island and promoting the petition, hoping to drum up enough political will in the state senate to pass Giannini’s bill. But even after nearly 500 Change.org members have asked for stripping to be added to the list of hazardous occupations, Rhode Island hasn’t budged.
Teens in Rhode Island deserve the same protection from trafficking and abuse as teens in the rest of the U.S. And protecting young people from harm, especially sexual harm, is a political no-brainer. So why are Rhode Island politicians silent on this issue? Munson thinks it might be significant money in the strip club industry, it might be a little bit of laziness, or it might just be the fact that the governor doesn’t know the people of Rhode Island care about this issue.
Make sure they know you care by adding your name to the hundreds demanding that Rhode Island teens be protected from the harms and risks associated with stripping. And let’s make sure that no Rhode Island teens spend Christmas in a strip club.
(When will Americans wake up and realize that ANY occupation that is based on women being used as sexual objects will ALWAYS hurt EVERY woman’s chances for respect and equality in this country. Unfortunately, men don’t want it any other way. That is why this law is still in effect. That is why girls and women are victimized and abused every single minute of every single day all across America and around the world. Men run our country and our world and they want women TO BE slaves. This isn’t anything new. This behavior goes back to the beginning of time. WELL, it’s time we move out of the stone age and realize Women are not objects. Children are not objects. WOMEN need to UNITE and STOP this behavior NOW!!)