Stripping is one of those activities that is generally considered sort of a "fun" and "harmless" way for men to get their rocks off. Hey, I've been to a few strip clubs myself. I've even spoken to some of the strippers, many of whom are single moms working their way through college or grad school, and stripping gives them a fairly easy way to quickly earn cash at night while they go to school during the day. Many say they can earn in a few hours what 12 hours of waitressing wouldn't get them. So I've never really considered stripping to be problematic in the way that, say, prostitution can be. But what if it has just as much of a dark side? That's what I wonder when I hear about this story of a 13-year-old girl who claims she was forced to strip at a full nude club in Florida.
Police have shut down Club Madonna in Miami Beach while they investigate claims that a 13-year-old girl was able to get a job as a stripper there. Club owner Leroy Griffith is fighting the charges and says that he has no proof that a 13-year-old was ever a stripper in his club. Or, if she was, then it was a one-time incident. His attorney told NBC:
But if this girl did dance, she danced, it’s an isolated instance, it’s not indicative of the manner in which this club has operated lawfully for 40 years, and proper safeguards have been put in place to make sure it would never happen again.
Griffith claims that although he was out of town during the time the girl supposedly danced for his club, he has no record of her, and that if she did dance there, she should have showed ID saying she was 18, as all his dancers are required to do.
The girl, however, who went by the name Peaches, says no one ever asked her for identification. While it's hard to believe that a 13-year-old could pass for 18, when it's dark and a girl is dressed in certain clothes and wearing makeup, who knows. Still rather far-fetched though.
Three people were arrested for nabbing the runaway girl off a Miami street and allegedly forcing her to have sex with men for money and also to get a job at the strip club. They reportedly held her hostage with guns and plied her with drugs.
Sex trafficking has gotten so much more attention now, it really makes you think about who you are seeing on the stage. Maybe it's not women in their 20s who are working their way through college. Maybe it's kidnapped girls hardly out of childhood.
Anyone who goes to strip clubs might want to think about this next time they head out for a night of "harmless fun."
Do you ever go to a strip club? Does your man?
Image via GeorgiaBC/Flickr