Image: © Rick Hall

A campaign group tried to shut down strip clubs by secretly filming employees

The dancers are angry their privacy was invaded. The campaign group say they attempt to showcase breaches of regulation.

The legal sex industry, which includes things like strip clubs and sex shops, works like any other sector. Its businesses have to follow certain regulations set by the government, such as not selling its products or services to children. And its employees are protected by a series of workers rights, such as being paid the minimum wage and being given breaks and time off.

These two things are now at the forefront of an argument between Not Buying It, a group that wants to get rid of strip clubs, and United Voice of the World, a union which represents workers in the sex industry. The whole thing started after Not Buying It went into a couple of strip clubs in Manchester, bought private nude dances and then secretly filmed the workers breaking rules against touching clients and performing sexual acts.

The group says this was the only way to get the rule-breaking businesses shut down. But many of the dancers who were filmed have expressed outrage over the huge invasion of their privacy and the emotional backlash they could suffer if the footage is leaked. Their union compared it to revenge porn (sharing intimate photos or videos of someone without their consent) which was recently made a crime in Britain.

Ironically, both groups say their key aim is to help the (usually) women who work in strip clubs to earn a living that is free from exploitation or other unfair treatment. Considering the strip club employees in question said they were happy in their jobs and not coerced into that career, their conflicting stances seem to boil down to whether we can all be trusted to know what’s best for ourselves or if governments and other authority figures should be empowered to step in.

Read our explainer on: workplaces.

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