UK: Lap dance link to prostitution and drug deals

  • The Observer,
  • Sunday April 20 2008
  • Article history
This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday April 20 2008 on p19 of the News section. It was last updated at 00:01 on April 20 2008.

A rapid expansion’ of lap-dancing clubs across the UK has been allowed by the government despite concerns about links with prostitution and drug dealing, according to an influential report to be issued this week.

A coalition of MPs, peers, government advisers and think-tanks says that lap dancing has exploited the 2005 Licensing Act – a flagship piece of government legislation – allowing hundreds of new clubs to open in the face of opposition from councils, residents and police.

The result is that there are now more than 300 in the UK, with applications to open scores more. The small town of Stourbridge in the West Midlands has five pubs but two lap-dancing clubs. Along Hackney Road in east London there are now five lap-dancing clubs within a mile.

Object, the campaign calling for a change in the law to have lap-dancing clubs reclassified as ‘sex encounter establishments’ and therefore subject to tighter regulation, blames a loophole in the legislation which has put lap-dancing clubs in the same category as cafes, karaoke bars and pubs, making it relatively easy to obtain licences.

This week’s report highlights the link between lap dancing and criminality, citing research that links clubs to prostitution and human trafficking.

The proliferation of lap-dancing clubs, adds the report, has fuelled an ‘increased demand for the purchase of sex’ while encouraging ‘factors driving human trafficking flows’.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/20/socialexclusion.ukcrime

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