Strippers’ Fight for Justice: The Bill That’s Turning Heads Nationwide

In a bold move that underscores a significant shift towards workplace safety and rights in the adult entertainment industry, strippers in Washington state are rallying for the enactment of a comprehensive “strippers’ bill of rights.” This legislative effort, if passed, would mark a monumental step in recognizing and safeguarding the rights of adult dancers, setting a precedent for similar protections across the United States.

The Drive for Change

The push for the strippers’ bill of rights is not a sudden uprising but the culmination of six years of persistent advocacy led by Strippers Are Workers, a dancer-led organization. The proposed legislation aims to bridge the wide regulatory gaps that currently leave adult entertainers vulnerable to various workplace hazards, including sexual assault and harassment. The stories of dancers like Andrea, who juggled her studies in library sciences with her job as a stripper, highlight the urgent need for such protections. Despite facing sexual assault at work, Andrea found herself without recourse, a situation all too common in the industry.

What the Bill Proposes

The strippers’ bill of rights is a comprehensive proposal that seeks to introduce several key protections for workers in the adult entertainment industry. Among the most notable provisions are the requirements for a security guard at each club, keypad codes to enter dressing rooms, and mandatory training for employees on preventing sexual harassment. Additionally, the bill calls for procedures to be put in place for instances when a customer becomes violent, training on conflict de-escalation between dancers, employees, and customers, and clear signage stating that dancers are not required to hand over tips.

Legislative Momentum

The legislative journey of the strippers’ bill of rights has garnered significant attention and support within the Washington state legislature. Sponsored by Democratic Rep. Amy Walen in the House and with a similar bill being considered in the Senate, the proposals have attracted more than two dozen sponsors combined. This broad support enhances the bill’s chances of making it to the governor’s desk, especially within the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The absence of provisions allowing alcohol in strip clubs, which stalled a similar bill last year, further bolsters its prospects.

Addressing a Nationwide Gap

The regulatory gaps that the strippers’ bill of rights seeks to fill are not unique to Washington state. Across the country, adult entertainers face similar vulnerabilities, with only a handful of states having introduced worker protections for this sector. The efforts by Strippers Are Workers in Washington could serve as a blueprint for advocacy and legislative action in other states, highlighting the importance of such protections in ensuring the safety and dignity of adult dancers nationwide.

Challenges and Concerns

Despite the overwhelming support for the bill, concerns remain about its potential impact on the adult entertainment industry, particularly in terms of financial viability. The addition of mandatory protections without a corresponding increase in revenue, such as from alcohol sales, could pose challenges for club owners. However, advocates argue that the safety and rights of workers should take precedence, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach that protects employees without jeopardizing the industry’s future.

Final Thoughts

The strippers’ bill of rights represents a pivotal moment in the fight for worker protections in the adult entertainment industry. By addressing the unique challenges faced by strippers and other adult dancers, Washington state has the opportunity to lead the way in establishing comprehensive safeguards that could inspire similar legislative efforts across the country. The success of this bill would not only improve the working conditions for countless individuals but also affirm the principle that all workers, regardless of their profession, deserve respect, safety, and dignity in their workplace.


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