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Sex workers take on council they claim is trying strip them of their human rights

They say banning strip clubs would put women out of jobs and forced them into unregulated and dangerous sex entertainment work.

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Strippers protest a proposed ban on strip clubs (Martin Booth via SWNS)

By SWNS staff reporter

A council trying to become the first in the United Kingdom to ban strip clubs faces a landmark legal action from the strippers' union - who claim it breaches human rights and is sexual discrimination.

The United Voices of the World trade union is threatening a judicial review against Bristol City Council in England.

The authority wants to ban all sexual entertainment venues such as Urban Tiger - becoming the first place in the country to do so.

But the union’s sex worker branch - the United Sex Workers - has written to the council and its licensing committee.

It claims introducing the outright ban policy would be indirect gender discrimination.

The union says male stripper nights such as the 'Chippendales' are not regulated.

It says it will even take Bristol City Council to the Human Rights Commission.

Strippers protest on College Green, Bristol against plans to ban sexual entertainment venues. (Martin Booth via SWNS)

It says banning the clubs would put women out of jobs and forced them into unregulated and dangerous sex entertainment work.

Their letter said: ''The introduction of a nil-cap policy would plainly disadvantage strippers and, in turn, women.

“The obvious disadvantage is preventing strippers from working in an occupation, city, and venue of their choice.

''This disadvantage poses a serious threat to their livelihoods, safety, and health of over 100 individuals, including strippers and other staff employed by SEVs.''

The letter says the council can only take such action if it demonstrates a ‘legitimate aim.'

The letter adds: “Supporters of the policy sometimes claim that the aim is reducing VAWG [violence against women and girls].

''However, there is absolutely no evidence that the existence of SEVs correlates with an increase in VAWG, either in a specific geographical area or in general.

“There is evidently also no evidence of causation."

Strippers protest on the grounds of sexual discrimination, human rights violation (Martin Booth via SWNS).

''To the contrary, evidence regarding crime rates shows SEVs are amongst the safest venues for female workers within the night-time economy, partially due to CCTV, security, and regulation.

“Licences are renewed annually and impose strict CCTV and security requirements, alongside other stringent conditions such as non-contact rules between strippers and customers.

"CCTV is regularly reviewed by the police and the council to ensure compliance. There have been no license breaches by the two existing SEVs.

''All strippers undergo identity checks and must demonstrate their right to work. Neither venue is recorded by the police as a source of concern for sexual assault."

Bristol City Council wants to ban all sexual entertainment venues - becoming the first place in the UK to do so.(Martin Booth via SWNS)

It says the ban ''would force most strippers into either unemployment and poverty, or more dangerous unregulated venues and/or private parties''

The letter added: ''This constitutes harm in itself, and would expose the workers to a greater risk of violence against women and girls.''

The council has started a consultation exercise asking the public for their opinion on the ban.

Bristol City Council has been approached for a comment.

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