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November 2nd, 2009
10:02 AM ET

RI closes loopholes on minors stripping, indoor prostitution

Editor's Note: These are new developments to a story American Morning first brought you over the summer.

In June, police found a 16-year-old Boston runaway working as a dancer at Cheaters, a Providence strip club.

In June, police found a 16-year-old Boston runaway working as a dancer at Cheaters, a Providence strip club.

By Beth Rotatori
CNN

A legal loophole that allowed minors to perform at strip clubs in Rhode Island has been closed, according to a Rhode Island state lawmaker.

State Representative Joanne Giannini (D-Providence) tells CNN that legislation she introduced to bar anyone under 18 from working in adult entertainment establishments in any capacity was approved by the Rhode Island General Assembly Thursday.

The bill, which takes effect upon passage, is now headed to the desk of Gov. Donald L. Carcieri (R), she said.

“Children should not be publicly performing in any sexual way, ever,” said Rep. Giannini. “It’s called ‘adult entertainment’ for a reason. Minors aren’t supposed to be admitted to those clubs, so they certainly shouldn’t be working in them.”

Before this new legislation, teenagers could perform at strip clubs as long as they were 16, had a work permit and were home by 11:30 p.m. on school nights.

“Having underage girls or boys performing in this way is child exploitation and corruption,” Giannini went on to say. “We’re fixing this law to make it clear that it’s not allowed.”

Watch State Rep. Joanne Giannini discuss the loophole in July Video

The loophole came to light in June when Providence police found a 16-year-old Boston runaway, who had been working as a dancer at Cheaters, a Providence strip club. When police investigated her employment at the club, they found there was no law under which they could charge anyone for employing a minor as a stripper, Giannini explained.

Rhode Island lawmakers also passed a bill banning indoor prostitution, which, until Friday, had been legal in the state. Before passage of the ban, another loophole on the state’s books permitted prostitution, as long as solicitation didn’t occur outdoors (ie: as long as prostitutes were not walking the street trying to strike up business).

Giannini said the two issues are closely intertwined, because the indoor prostitution loophole allowed exotic dancers – including any minors who may have legally been working in strip clubs – to engage in prostitution without breaking the law.


Filed under: Justice
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. alecia

    why don't they just make it illegal for minors? the adults who work this way are simply trying to earn a living like every one else jobs are not readily available in this economy so we do what we can to get by. some of these law makers are a pain my ass!!

    February 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  2. somcock

    See how the Govt. continues to get involved in any and ever aspect of our daily lives. The girls wre making a better mor legite dollar in the clubs than they'll make on the streets under pimps. No lets make it look like the cops have really accopmmlished something here by dusting a few simple lopssl 'dirty cops are no good for anyone, get them off the street and the prostitutes back in the clubs where they truely belong. Ht me up you little out of this world freaks a zoids.

    November 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  3. bill page

    Reasonable. However in European countries age of consent is
    16. Americans can be too puritanical at times.

    November 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm |