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Bristol Could Ban Lap Dancing In Bid To Prevent Harassment Of Women

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Bristol Could Ban Lap Dancing In Bid To Prevent Harassment Of Women

Bristol could ban lap dancing and strip clubs in a bid to prevent harassment of women.

Following a vote by the council's licensing committee earlier this month, the proposal will now go to a public consultation.

If it goes through, it could see the closure of the city's two 'sexual entertainment venues' (SEVs), which some councillors claim would cost a number of jobs.

According to Bristol Live, Councillor Harriet Clough told meeting that it was the wrong strategy.

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She said: "If we were going to close any single club in Bristol to make the nightlife safer, it would not be Urban Tiger or Central Chambers.

"There are far more rapes and assaults associated with nightclubs in Bristol than there are with SEVs."

Echoing these sentiments, Cllr Richard Eddy said the idea was 'monstrous'.

He said: "We are asked not to give our taste, our moral view, whether we believe these sorts of clubs should exist, we are asked to weigh up the crime statistics and the evidence and say if we believe there is a link.

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"The existing clubs are well run and well regulated, so I can't see evidence that we should drop the cap to nil."

Adding: "Our businesses and our people are struggling to survive and recover from Covid.

"Are we seriously going to make these people unemployed? That seems monstrous."

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However, others argued that it was time the council acted to protect the women of the city and that SEVs were a vital way of doing it.

Margaret Hickman, leader of the ruling Labour group, said: "Casual street harassment of women and domestic homicide are some of the biggest issues Bristol has to deal with.

"We can't ignore the violence against women that is perpetrated by people who attend these venues."

Prior to the vote, one of those potentially affected by the move, Central Chambers, posted on its Facebook page to speak out against it.

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Central Chambers has criticised the move. Credit: Google Maps
Central Chambers has criticised the move. Credit: Google Maps

The post read: "Let's hope the councillors vote against the nil cap on International Women's Day and do not put hundreds of women out of work."

Commenting on the post, a dancer said she opposed the potential closure of stripclubs and that it was her choice what she did for a living.

She wrote: "We do not need someone to say they have control over what is right for me to do with my body.

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"They have not taken into consideration how this will affect a lot of people.

"If you think you can take this away from a bunch of consenting adults who do provide sexy entertainment, who are there a lot of the time to support and give therapy and show someone escapism from their lives they lead, you are not going to get rid of sex workers by closing these places down.

"You are going to push it underground, you are going to make it so it is less regulated.

"It's incredibly distasteful."

The proposal, which was voted through on 8 March, will go to a 12-week consultation period, with members of the public and interest groups given the opportunity to offer their thoughts.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: covid, Business, council, lockdown, UK politics, Vote, Facebook, Jobs

Dominic Smithers
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