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Subjects

Exotic dancing, sex work, occupational violence, safety

Abstract

Portland, Oregon takes the lead in the highest strip clubs per capita, however, strip clubs in Portland have gone unregulated, allowing for poor management and oversight of health and safety issues. When violence and exploitation occurs, exotic dancers have scarce resources to turn to due to the continued stigma of being a sex worker. Past research has explored limited issues related to exotic dancers, including drug use, sexually transmitted infections, and mental health problems, but few have questioned what safety measures are needed to protect women in this industry. Through a personal and intersectional lens this study explores exotic dancer’s experience of occupational violence. Through this qualitative study, I use online surveys as well as semi-structured interviews in order to better understand the experiences of occupational violence against exotic dancers. Violence is defined as financial abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and verbal abuse by clients, employers and law enforcement. Themes that were identified by the interviews included diverse forms of violence experienced by participants, perceptions of when participants felt most unsafe and safe at work and how that translates into societal, structural, and policy level recommendations, and lastly their experiences with FOSTA (Fight online Sex Trafficking Act) and SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act). This feminist centered research serves as a platform for exotic dancer’s voices to be heard, while also attempting to provide recommendations to improve the working conditions of adult entertainment establishments.

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