Manchester

Manchester strippers 'terrified' over secret filming

Picture of a lap dancer's shoes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One Manchester-based dancer who was filmed said she feared the footage may be leaked

Strippers have said they are "angry and terrified" after an anti-strip club campaign group carried out undercover filming of private nude dances.

Not Buying It claimed the recordings in Victorias and Obsessions lap dancing clubs in Manchester showed breaches in licensing rules, including sexual acts.

The group said covert filming was the "only way to get anything done about the strip industry".

A union has compared it to "revenge porn".

Not Buying It, which was set up to challenge exploitation in pornography and the sex trade, said it took the "drastic step" in March of hiring investigators to film strippers to "expose how the industry really operates".

'Extreme harm'

"I consent to being on CCTV, I consent to it every night when I go to work [because it keeps me safe] but I don't consent to them filming me," said Daisy, who was filmed and whose name has been changed.

"We have a right to our body, despite what we do for a job, and they've taken that right completely away from us."

She said her biggest fear was the footage being leaked.

Both Victorias and Obsessions offer "full, nude" lap dances in "discreet" private rooms.

Not Buying It claimed to have filmed dancers both touching themselves sexually and "straddling" investigators, despite licensing rules forbidding contact.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Investigators covertly filmed at Victorias and Obsessions in Manchester

One dancer offered prostitution, the group claimed.

But Daisy said: "I certainly don't offer 'extras' and I don't know any other girls who do."

A spokesperson for Victorias said it had "taken these allegations seriously" and was co-operating fully with a council investigation.

Victorias had "not knowingly contravened or permitted the contravention of any term or condition of their licence," they added.

Obsessions has also been approached for comment.

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Not Buying It said it chose to visit two lap dancing clubs in Manchester because of "numerous, serious" incidents linked to clubs in the city, but added: "We have no doubt that they could have gone into any club in the country and found the same."

Campaigner Dr Sasha Rakoff said: "We have been telling councils for years of the extreme harm and abuse of the strip industry.

"Nothing has been listened to."

Dr Rakoff said she hoped the filming would now show councillors the strip industry was "hugely harmful and abusive".

Jan Williams, chairman of Object, a group which campaigns against the sexual objectification of women, said "well-attested stories of strip clubs where dancers have to contravene rules in order to earn a living have been around forever".

"There is no other way to prove this is going on currently other than to film," she added.

But Daisy said "the industry is legal" and "licensed".

"I don't understand what they're trying to expose. When I go into work I feel completely in control. I am in control of my body, of who sees me, of what I do. I've lost that control, they've taken that away from me."

United Voices of the World Union (UVW), which represents workers in the sex industry, said it was appalled by the "duplicitous 'sting' operations" which had "violated women's right to privacy."

"Sharing undercover footage of naked women constitutes revenge porn and UVW will take legal action against anyone who uses this tactic to harm our members," it said.

The footage collected has been sent to Manchester City Council, which said an investigation was ongoing.

"Our officers are nearing the conclusion of that investigation and will be contacting the management of the clubs in due course," said Rabnawaz Akbar, the council's executive member for neighbourhoods.

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