Strip Clubs Legal Challenge
Join the Coalition: Take Legal Action to End Strip Club Culture
We are thrilled to be heading a coalition of human rights groups, sex trade survivors, elected representatives and the general public crowdfunding now to take ground breaking legal action against Strip Clubs.
In The Press
The campaign is being featured all over the national and local press (now that's food for thought for the May local elections where the Sheffield councillors who approve strip clubs are up for re-election!). This includes:
What’s It All About?
Legally councils must consider the effect on equality in their licensing decisions and we are using this to challenge how (or if) they license strip clubs. The battlefront is Sheffield which has no limit on the number of clubs that may open. So we are helping proud Sheffield gran, Irene, take Sheffield City Council to court.
This has huge ramifications UK wide. If we win, it sends out a very clear message that Councils might be breaking the law when they license strip clubs because there is a real chance they have not properly understood equality law.
It has even more resonance given that this council is using the same spurious arguments always used by the industry and is being assisted by notorious strip chain, Spearmint Rhino and its barrister who represents the industry UK-wide. Add to that the fact that it has ignored the copious evidence of harm and is instead citing weak arguments by the pro-sex industry lobby like ‘we are being pro-equality by licensing clubs becuase the industry will just ‘go underground’ if we don't’ and we have an incredibly strong case.
What's Equality go to do with it?
Legally councils must 'pay due regard' to seek to ELIMINATE harassment, discrimination and victimisation in all of its policies and licensing decisions. Yet this is almost the very definition of lap dancing and the culture it creates. Academic studies, countless testimonies and undercover journalists reveal harassment, or worse, as rife within clubs. This is particularly the case in clubs with 'private booths', which Sheffield, unlike many other councils, allows. In fact even a quick google of press reports reveals that a dozen clubs have had to shut recently because the situation was so bad.
Women and many minority groups also feel unsafe in their vicinty (as has been widely reported to Sheffield City Council against whom this test case is being taken). And international treaties alongside countless studies have recognised for years that objectification and the porn/sex trade contribute to harmful attitudes in wider society.
Who’s Supporting It?
Join us! Donate Here
Spearheaded by pressure group, Not Buying It, these are just some of the groups and individuals in support with more joining daily:
Essex Feminist Collective
Alison Teal, Green Party Councillor
Sammy Woodhouse, formerly in lap dancing
Women's Action Group Cambridge
What About YOUR Council? Take Action! Donate Here
We believe strip clubs are incompatible with equality full stop. However many councils are undoubtedly in breach of equality law because of the way thay are licensing lap dancing:
Camden, Tower Hamlets, Hackney All have a policy that ‘zero clubs are appropriate' yet have nearly 2 dozen between them! That is because they allowed all existing clubs to continue operating when they introduced strip club licensing in 2010 (before this strip clubs were licensed like cafes!). But allowing existing clubs to automatically continue operating when a policy, based in part on equality considerations, says none are appropriate is in itself is a breach of equality law. All 3 councils were keen to eradicte the strip industry when they introduced the licensing. The fact that they haven't is due to the huge resource of the sex industry who thinks nothing of taking local authoties to court time after time.
Camden is a case in point of how the might of the industry has been used to thwart the wishes of local people and even the council. The Council has been wrapped up in court cases that it can ill afford in a bid to get clubs closed. Most recently it had to go all the way to the High Court to stop one club from having an entire floor of private booths. Successfully as it turns out. But this club should not even exist in the first place according its licensing policy
Has a staggering 25 sex establishments, a dozen of which are strip clubs, all in one small area of the borough. How, by any stretch of the imagination, can that possibly be pro-equalities?
The town turns into a 'walk through brothel' during race week. That's because the law allows 'occassional lap dancing' without any need for a license, control or regulation! In fact there is absolutely nothing a local council can do to stop this from happening. In this case the very law itself is a breach of equality law!
Is also about to adopt exactly the same legislation as we already have in England and Wales, with all the same flaws.
About Strip Club Licensing
Strip clubs became licensed as part of the sex industry in 2010, before which they were licensed as cafes! The entire purpose of the legislation was to give local people greater say over them. But this is failing time and time again with councils either biased, apathetic or intimidated by the fabulously wealthy strip industry that thinks nothing of keeping local authorities tied up in costly court case after court case.
It should not be up to unfunded pressure groups or individuals or local authorities to spend huge amounts of time and money to enforce the law or the spirit of the law. At a time when we are saying ‘Times Up’ to President Club attitudes is it time we revisit the entire legislation behind a powerful industry that says ‘men can buy women’?
What's Wrong with the Strip Industry?
Think lap dancing is Empowering? Aspirational? Harmless Fun? Think again
Read our flier here
and more faqs and research here
You DO NOT need to live locally to object.
Download template letter with full instructions to object to Licensing Renewal of Spearmint Rhino Sheffield HERE