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City Planning Commission Study of Adult Entertainment Venues

Dear friends,

As you may know, we have been working with the City Council and State Legislature to protect and assist young, at-risk and vulnerable women (and men) who work and dance in our areas strip clubs. Sadly, they are often preyed upon by pimps, drug dealers and human traffickers.

This past January, the City Council passed an ordinance raising the minimum age of dancers from 18 to 21. The City Council, for the first time in forty years, also requested that the City Planning Commission undertake a comprehensive study of the French Quarter’s “adult live entertainment venues.”

We have summarized below our concerns, beliefs and recommendations. We would greatly appreciate you supporting our efforts by sending a formal letter and/or copying & pasting the text below to the City Planning Commission, care of: Sabine Lebailleaux selebailleaux@nola.gov or City Planning Commission, 1300 Perdido, 7th floor, NOLA, 70112. Public comments are due by June 20th in preparation for a public hearing on June 28th at 1:30 pm in city council chambers.

We would also be very grateful if you would forward this webpage to your friends and colleagues asking them to voice their support to the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks and God bless,

Jim

We are concerned:

  • In October 2015, law enforcement found drug dealing and prostitution taking place in 9 out of 14 New Orleans’ strip clubs in an undercover investigation. Drug dealing and prostitution (male and female) are also known to take place in other kinds of clubs and venues.
  • New Orleans is considered a major hub for human sex trafficking by national law enforcement and human trafficking experts (including the Polaris Project).
  • A Loyola study estimates 87 Covenant House residents per year are survivors of human trafficking, increasing to 150 residents per year if the sex industry and strip clubs are included.
  • According to recent lawsuits, and as reported by the Wall Street Journal and the Time Picayune, dancers in strip clubs are often hired as independent contractors and forced to share tips. They are constantly sexually harassed, and work in environments that are neither safe nor crime free.
  • A Johns Hopkins study, in Baltimore, found 43% of dancers sold sex at strip clubs. The majority of dancers reported selling sex and drugs for the first time after beginning to dance at the clubs.
  • A University of Louisville study found violent crime rates, in Louisville, to be 12.3 times higher within 500 feet of a sexually oriented business (strip club, massage parlor,…), and 8.3 times higher within 1000 feet.

We believe:

  • ·The French Quarter’s strip clubs have led to an increase in overall crime including violence, prostitution, lewd acts, and drug dealing – and therefore do not promote the public health, welfare, and safety of our City.
  •  As we approach our 300th anniversary, the strip clubs’ affiliated crimes and negative reputations are completely out of sync with marketing New Orleans as a world-class destination.
  •  The number of strip clubs in our City should over time be reduced by at least 65 %.

We recommend:

  • The existing laws and ordinances associated with strip clubs’ liquor licenses/permits should be strictly and regularly enforced in each establishment including the V.I.P. rooms.
  •  A special tax/fee should be levied on the strip clubs to pay for increased and dedicated law enforcement (NOPD, ATC and State Police) on Bourbon Street, and for weekly inspections of the clubs.
  • Strip clubs as business enterprises should have a particular set of rules, regulations, performance and safety standards (as adult live entertainment venues) which are regulated by the City.
  • In accord with the Federal Labors Standards Act, dancers should be hired as regular employees with standard benefits, and should be provided a safe, crime free environment to work.
  •  Any new strip club or any strip club seeking to re-open should not be permitted outside of the “adult live performance venue IZD” or within 1000 feet of current residences, schools or parks.