Fearless campaigner and CSE survivor Sammy Woodhouse recently tweeted to draw attention to the fact the Labour party Parliamentary candidate for Rother Valley has previously expressed support for the strip club industry operating within the region.

Placing to one side the fact that this is all the more unbelievable when you recognise Rotherham’s dark history as a focal point for sexual exploitation in the UK, it should be incumbent upon all political groups to take a public stand against what is nothing more than the ‘acceptable’ face of sexual exploitation.

Image courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Take Spearmint Rhino in Sheffield for example. The club was found to have breached over 140 of its own rules and codes of conduct, as well as more than 70 license breaches. Similarly, recent campaign work by NotBuyingIt highlighted just how prolific exploitation and illegality is within these clubs. Not only that, but the council then spent over £100,000 of tax payer’s money on legal fees despite conceding that they had breached equality law in its licensing of the club.

This is not just limited to an individual club or region either. Abuse and violence is a common feature of many clubs, women are treated as disposable objects, and the links between trafficking, prostitution and strip clubs are inextricably linked even on an international scale.

There are innumerable testimonies from women all across the globe who each share stories of how they were exploited, abused and violated by management and punters alike. This is not an exception to the rule, it is the rule. Strip clubs facilitate direct exploitation of performers themselves, but also create an environment where men are encouraged to view women as nothing more than objects for purchase. And with such a brazen attitude towards the welfare of the women involved, the clubs are usually more focused on getting punters in with “discounts” than they are with how this unstable income affects the women.

CEASE UK are calling on all Parliamentary candidates, regardless of party political allegiance, to take a stand against this ‘acceptable’ face of exploitation. Strip clubs prop up the idea that women are there to be purchased and used by men as they see fit. It’s time that local authorities and councils take notice of the exploitation that is going on right on their doorstep.

Thanks to NotBuyingIt for their campaign work and comprehensive set of strip club/exploitation resources. Please visit www.notbuyingit.org.uk to find out more.