Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Letter to the Editor - Strip clubs are really the site of sexual exploitation

Dear Editor,

Chicago, and Illinois at large, is a dynamic place with a great deal to offer visitors. Unfortunately, Illinois also has a number of strip clubs that frequently mistreat their employees and are the site of sexual exploitation. In your recent article, The 14 Best Strip Clubs in Illinois, you recommend visits to strip clubs throughout the state. Did you know that many of these clubs have owners that abuse their position by using coercive tactics to profit from the sexual exploitation of their employees?

What may seem like a casual environment free from harm is actually a very exploitative and harmful workplace. There is a correlation between strip clubs, alcohol and violence against women. Studies have found a variety of negative consequences to having sexually oriented businesses in a community, including prostitution, sexual assault, and exploitation. In a Chicago study, 43% of women in strip clubs experienced frequent violence including being slapped, punched, kicked, raped, and assaulted.

In 2012, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law that collects new fees from strip clubs that also sell alcohol and distributes those fees to rape crisis centers because they recognized the harms these clubs present to their communities. Encouraging this industry only increases the very real harm inflicted on women and girls in our communities.

If you'd like to learn more about ending sexual exploitation please contact the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

Leena Saleh
Communications Manager
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation