Thursday, February 2, 2012

Strip Club Owners Took $3 Million in Fees from Women Dancers

News broke today that strip club owners in Elgin, Illinois, allegedly earned more than $3 million in fees from women who danced in their venue. They are under investigation for not reporting this money for taxes. Sadly, the fact that this much money was earned in a strip club is not surprising. Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation urges the community to become aware of the exploitation that occurs in strip clubs throughout Chicagoland. From the Chicago Tribune:

"Buttitta and his son received about $3,704,959 from “house” fees they collected from women for each shift they worked as dancers at Blackjacks, according to the U.S. attorney's office."

Some people believe that stripping makes women rich. Instead, they are often indebted to the club indefinitely. From our fact sheet:

As soon as a woman begins dancing at a club, it can cost her money rather than being a lucrative job. Many of the women who dance at strip clubs or strip for a house-call company are hired as independent contractors instead of as employees and are therefore not paid a salary or hourly wages. Despite this classification, the clubs maintain enormous control over the women, setting their schedules and hours and setting the prices a dancer can charge for table or private dances.

Additionally, the women often pay the club stage fees or “rent,” sometimes as high as $150 per night. In addition, women pay the club a commission of up to 20% from private dances and tips. Many clubs also require dancers to “tip out”—sharing a percentage of what they earn with the bartender, waitresses, bouncers, house mother, and DJ.

Strip clubs and other indoor venues are also recruiting grounds for pimps and traffickers. In this video, Olivia describes how she was forced into the sex trade after taking a job as a dancer at a Chicago strip club. 

Take action by signing up for our End Demand Illinois action alerts here. 

To learn more about the harms that strip clubs cause to women, please visit our fact sheets.