PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - In a state where indoorprostitution is still legal, it turns out teen strippers, 16-and 17 year-olds are taking off their clothes for money.
In Rhode Island, minors can legally dance at gentlemen's clubs.But now, there is a push to close that loophole.
After reading through the state law on exploitation forcommercial use, Eyewitness News found discovered there is nothingprohibiting teens from stripping. One local group says if lawmakersdon't act now, more young people could become victims of sexualabuse.
The problem came to light after police learned a 16-year-oldrunaway was working as a stripper at Cheaters Gentlemen's Club inProvidence. The manager declined to comment, though his club hasdone nothing wrong. State law does not stop teenagers fromstripping.
Peg Langhammer, Executive Director at Day One said, "We havenumerous concerns about this."
Langhammer says allowing teens to strip puts them at risk ofabuse. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that 60 to80 percent of strippers have been victims of sexual assault.
"It isn't until later that we allow them to drive alone and wehave a law that allows them to strip in clubs? It really isdisgraceful," said Langhammer.
Adult entertainment is regulated by each city or town in moststates including Rhode Island. Providence Senior City SolicitorKevin McHugh says there was never any effort by the city to keepteens off the poles.
Langhammer was not aware of the loop hole until recently. Shetells us she and her organization will begin pushing legislators toclose the loophole.
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