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Minneapolis ordinance to protect sex workers moves forward

One after another, workers from Minneapolis’ adult entertainment world shared their stories Monday with City Council members.

They had gathered for a public hearing on the city’s proposed ordinance designed to protect exotic dancers from financial exploitation and provide a safer and cleaner work environment.

Most supported the ordinance as an important first step to help workers in an industry where rights are often ignored by the government. Others said they had no problems with current working conditions, and that clubs that don’t treat workers well should be dealt with on an individual basis.

The four council members making the quorum for the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee voted unanimously to pass the ordinance, which will be heard by the full council next week. Council Member Linea Palmisano said every worker in the city deserves a safe environment and that the ordinance should help undo some of the stigmas associated with the industry.

“I’m really proud that this was an empowering conversation for workers,” she said.

The ordinance would prohibit club management from requiring performers to turn over a portion of their tips at the end of a shift. Management would also be required to give performers written contracts upon hiring, along with the club’s anti-discrimination policies.

For safety, entertainers would be given security escorts when leaving after a shift and cameras would be required in closed, private dancing areas.

Clubs could not employ managers or security staff with recent domestic violence convictions. The ordinance would also set new sanitation standards, requiring staff to immediately clean up and keep a log of bodily fluid “spills.”

The council chamber was filled for the nearly two-hour hearing, with many holding signs that read “Minneapolis Supports Strippers.”

In drafting the ordinance, the city reached out to workers in the

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