Friday, November 13, 2009

Advocating for Change

"I had the opportunity to be one of the first dancers in several overseas strip bars. We set the precedent. This particular bar told us we were not allowed to consume alcohol while on shift. I knew this upon entering the contract with the Macau bar owners. When I arrived, I brought up this concern with the owners and was successful in convincing them that alcohol was a part of our coping with customers and getting naked. I asked him to do it sober and he laughed and said “Ok drink then!” Hahah. So speak up!"


Advocating for change in the way you are treated by agents and employers can be hard. You often have to be very thick-skinned, determined and consistent. While some of us are very good at creating change by ourselves, it is good to gain the support of other workers. After all, our co-workers are dealing with the same problems.

History tells us that the best way to get businesses to improve the way they treat us is to stop working for them until they make the changes that will bring their favourite entertainers back. This worked in the late 90’s when strip clubs across B.C. started requiring one free a show a day from their dancers. Within two years, as the dancers worked less and less in those clubs and started moving out of the province for work, the clubs were forced to end the era of mandatory free shows.

If you are working for an employer who does not ensure minimum health and safety standards or has unfair practices, let other entertainers know about it. It allows them to make informed decisions about working in those establishments.

Try to avoid reporting businesses to enforcement agencies outside of our industry, as that may result in them getting closed down, which may also mean that they may not be able to pay you what they owe you. With so many sex industry businesses closing around us, we do not want to jeopardize the workspaces we have left.

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