Rhode Island Blushes Over Teen-Stripping Loophole
"Stop stripping and do your homework."
You may have thought that while watching a Britney Spears video, but if you're a parent in Rhode Island, you might have to say it to your own daughter.
Under state law, she can't drink until she's 21. She can't vote until she's 18. She can't drive until she's 16. But take off her clothes while a bunch of men stuff money in her panties and indulge their teenage fantasies? That's no different than flipping burgers in the country's smallest state, under a legal loophole.
Loophole (or peephole), Providence City Councilman Michael Solomon wants to change it. He drafted a local law to prohibit minors from working in strip joints. The proposal is co-sponsored by Council President Peter Mancini and Councilman Nicholas Narducci.
The Providence Journal reports that the owner of two local strip clubs told the city council that he and other adult business owners also support the proposal.
The issue was discovered when Providence police found a 16-year-old runaway from Boston working as a stripper at Cheater's Gentleman's Club in Providence. They also discovered, while researching the case, there are no laws on the books in Rhode Island to keep minors from working as strippers.
The proposed law will be discussed at a special council meeting on July 27.
The gap in the law is disturbing on many levels, said Peg Langhammer, executive director of Day One, a sexual assault and trauma response center in Providence. It puts girls at severe physical risk. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that 60 to 70 percent of strippers have been sexually assaulted.
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