Thursday, August 4, 2011

Strippers to Prostitutes: Lack of Lapdances Leads Ladies Left of the Law

Ok, so a little while back Louisville Metro Government passed new regulations on strip clubs in order to church the city up a bit.  Dancin’ girlies have been subjected to puritan-esque regulations requiring them to refrain from 1) nude dancing and 2) the art and science of lap-dances.

I guess the city wanted to impose a higher level of morality on Kentuckiana.  Let’s see how that’s working out...
Here with an update is “Cinnamon.”  Turn off the lights in this joint and direct your attention to Cinnamon, who will be standing on the main stage in the spotlight.  Cinnamon will be wearing a very respectable cowgirl outfit that in order to conform to local regulations.  Apparently some cowgirls wore 6 inch clear heals.  Please listen as Cinnamon reads the following excerpt from WLKY news:


Five women are facing prostitution charges after police raided an office building in Jeffersonville.
The raid happened Wednesday afternoon at 607 North Shore Drive.
The Clark County chief deputy prosecutor [informed] the Courier-Journal [that] there have been a number of complaints about prostitution in Jeffersonville and Clarksville.
He said it may be related to Louisville's tightened regulations on massage parlors and strip clubs.

Thank you, Cinnamon.  That was informative and well read.
I’d like to call your attention to the last sentence of the WLKY report.  Basically, the Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor (the honorable Jeremy Mull), who may just be a modern day philosopher, asserts that heightened regulations banning previously legal activity (like lap-dances and nude dancing) may have resulted in the increase of prostitution.  Which makes a lot of sense.  Cinnamon and other similarly situated girls were previously making hundreds of dollars a night doing what was admittedly scandalous, but legal work.  All of the sudden the law changes – and as a direct result, so does their income.  For the worse.  The goal of the new law was to…what, exactly?  Make us cleaner?  Tell that to the people who are trying to eat a 6-inch sub in the restaurant across from the office building full of working hookers.  Might I add that the above alleged prostitution ring was busted in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY.  

By over-regulating a legitimate stream of commerce, we have created a backlash of even more “scandalous” behavior which now takes place in a more dangerous environment.  Not to mention that prostitution occurs in a tax free environment, whereas strip clubs pay taxes.  Louisville loses any way you look at it.

Admittedly, I’ve gone on a little bit of a rant here – I’ll try to get to some actual law.  On a related note…

Human trafficking has been linked to both strip clubs and houses of ill repute.  Girls, often young and often immigrants, are exploited in both areas.  The Kentucky Revised Statutes addresses the issue of human trafficking, and you can see how closely tied human trafficking is to prostitution by examining the KRS.  The Human Trafficking statute is actually located in the “Prostitution Offenses” section (KRS 529).  It is great that our legislators have drafted laws with the intent of protecting these girls, who presumably don’t have many people sticking up for them.  It is unfortunate that the laws have some serious issues concerning vagueness and overbreadth, which may make them unconstitutional and unenforceable.  Let’s start with the Human Trafficking statute.

KRS 529.100   Human trafficking -- A person is guilty of human trafficking when the person intentionally subjects one (1) or more persons to human trafficking.

Great.  That tells us virtually nothing.  Let’s check the definition of “human trafficking” under KRS 529.010 for more clarification.  It says:

(5) "Human trafficking" refers to criminal activity whereby one (1) or more persons are subjected to engaging in:
(a) Forced labor or services; or
(b) Commercial sexual activity through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, except that if the trafficked person is under the age of eighteen (18), the commercial sexual activity need not involve force, fraud, or coercion;

Ok, that helps.  But it barely scratches the surface.  If you subject a person to “commercial sexual activity” by “force, fraud or coercion” you are a human trafficker.  Then again, what is “commercial sexual activity?”  Obviously prostitution would qualify, but what about stripping?  What about PG – 13 movies with milder sexual material or the girls who sling hot wings at Hooters?  Where do we draw the line?

According to the KRS, "Commercial sexual activity’ means prostitution, participation in the production of obscene material as set out in KRS Chapter 531, or engaging in a sexually explicit performance[.]”
So the Hooters girls are most likely exempt.  I don’t think waiting tables constitutes a “sexually explicit performance.”  But again, what about the PG-13 movies?  There are a lot of areas besides stripping that might constitute a “sexually explicit performance.”  What about a poetry reading of risque material?  Let’s check out KRS 529.010 for another definition (and I know we’re jumping all over the place here, but we’re almost done).  
(10) "Sexually explicit performance" means a performance of sexual conduct involving:
(a) Acts of masturbation, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, sexual intercourse, or deviant sexual intercourse, actual or simulated;
(b) Physical contact with, or willful or intentional exhibition of, the genitals;
(c) Flagellation or excretion for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification; or
(d) The exposure, in an obscene manner, of the unclothed or apparently unclothed human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks, or the female breast, whether or not subsequently obscured by a mark placed thereon, or otherwise altered, in any resulting motion picture, photograph, or other visual representation, exclusive of exposure portrayed in matter of a private, family nature not intended for distribution outside the family.

At this point, I’m still a bit confused.  I want to say that a reading of poetry containing sexual material wouldn’t constitute “sexual conduct” pursuant to the first line of KRS 529.010(10), but some people might.  It is vague.  And vagueness is a problem.
Back to our original definition of human trafficking - what constitutes “force, fraud or coercion?”  Pursuant to the KRS, "Force, fraud, or coercion" may only be accomplished by the same means and methods as a person may be restrained under KRS 509.010;” which takes us to the definition section of KRS 509 -

509.010   Definitions.
The following definitions apply in this chapter unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Relative" means a parent, ancestor, brother, sister, uncle or aunt.
(2) "Restrain" means to restrict another person's movements in such a manner as to cause a substantial interference with his liberty by moving him from one place to another or by confining him either in the place where the restriction commences or in a place to which he has been moved without consent. A person is moved or confined "without consent" when the movement or confinement is accomplished by physical force, intimidation, or deception, or by any means, including acquiescence of a victim, if he is under the age of sixteen (16) years, or is substantially incapable of appraising or controlling his own behavior.
Again we have some problems with vagueness.  In the second sentence of paragraph (2), supra, the KRS explains that someone is moved or confined without consent when the movement is accomplished by physical force, intimidation, or deception or ANY OTHER MEANS.  Putting “any other means” really just cancels out all of the “force, intimidation or deception requirements.”  Doesn’t it?  Which, to me, says that if you can talk someone into moving to Kentucky to work at your strip club by ANY MEANS, including promising to pay them, it constitutes “force, fraud or coercion.”  Read strictly, it must include any legal or legitimate means of moving someone to another place - which is overbroad.
I think that’s enough law for the day.
In closing, it is great that our legislators are attempting to govern and eliminate human trafficking.  But the law is far from perfect.  When a law is vague or overbroad, it can be rendered unconstitutional and unenforceable.
If you have been charged with Prostitution or Human Trafficking, you need a lawyer who knows the law.  If you have been charged with any sex crime in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Elizabethtown or the surrounding areas, call Gruner & Simms, PLLC and speak to a Louisville Sex Crimes lawyer today.  The initial consultation is free, so call 502.618.4949 or visit
Results.  As fast as the law will allow.

Questions answered in this blog post: How do I find a good Louisville human trafficking lawyer; what is the new law about Kentucky strippers; what is the new law about Louisville strippers; explain the Louisville lap dancing law; what are strippers allowed to do in Louisville; what is commercial sexual activity; are Hooters girls obscene?

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