‘Strangled in a private room’: adult dancers call for better protection in clubs

May 15, 2024

‘Strangled in a private room’: adult dancers call for better protection in clubs

Heels belonging to a dancer at one of Auckland’s adult entertainment clubs. Photo: Madeleine Robertson

Dancers in Auckland’s strip clubs say they’re experiencing a surge in assaults and misconduct by customers.

The dancers claim customers get away with the assaults because the clubs are failing to install cameras and other security measures.

One 23-year-old former dancer, who asked to remain anonymous, said she left the industry because she felt unsafe and this was taking a toll on her mentally.

“I was strangled in a private room because I refused to do additional services during a private dance, when I told my manager he didn’t take it seriously and it was my word against the customers because there were no cameras providing evidence that it happened.”

This young woman’s story is similar to many others, with managers often ignoring assault claims due to lack of evidence.

A 25-year-old current dancer who wishes to remain anonymous says she feels nervous every time she goes into work.

“I was once offered an opiate instead of a tip after I had finished my dance on stage, at first I thought he was handing me a mint.

“Luckily, I declined as I got suspicious when the man wouldn’t tell me what it was, I found out later from one of the other dancers it was in fact, an opiate.”

She says she told the managers, but they did not take it up with the customer and he was allowed to remain at the club until closing.

“I don’t want to even think about what might have happened to me if I took it,” she says.

The dancers say it’s not just the lack of security cameras that’s an issue but there’s also a shortage of security guards – with some clubs having no guards present at all.

This means dancers are extremely vulnerable and there is no one to step in, should common incidents like these occur.

Donna, a spokesperson for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) says assaults are unfortunately common in the industry.

“It's crucial proper security measures are to be put in place.

“Lack of basic security is like waiting for an accident to happen, if a girl says she's been assaulted it is the club’s duty to look into this matter seriously.”

The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective works to provide support for all sex workers across the country, they aim in advocating for the rights, safety and wellbeing of all workers.

“We advise all workers seek support should they feel unsafe, they do not deserve to feel this way,” Donna added.

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