March 27, 2017 06:11 PM
University of Minnesota researchers found "significant health and safety concerns" within downtown Minneapolis' adult entertainment industry, according to a report presented to the city's Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee Monday afternoon.
The report, titled "Workplace Perspectives on Erotic Dancing," cited high rates of physical and sexual assaults among Minneapolis entertainers; documented perceived economic exploitation in the industry; stated that entertainers sometimes felt pressure to perform sex acts; and said entertainers reported a lack of training or clear job expectations.
"It's terrible, but it's not shocking. You hear these stories when you work in the industry," said Tawnya "Sweetpea" Konobeck, a local entertainer who was part of the study team's community advisory group.
Added Lauren Martin, the director of research at the University of Minnesota's Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center: "This is a legal industry, and workers in a legal industry should have a safe and supportive work environment free from harassment and assault."
Monday's report isn't the first time Minneapolis council members have discussed the city's adult entertainment venues. Earlier in March, Minneapolis Department of Health officials confirmed the presence of bodily fluids at about a dozen downtown clubs. A city spokesperson said both inquiries stem from a complaint lodged against a single downtown venue.
Officials are now vowing to take action. Council Member Cam Gordon said Monday that he expects to introduce up to three ordinance amendments to better regulate adult entertainment establishments in the city.
Council Member Andrew Johnson added, "It's disturbing and it's something that's unacceptable and that we need to change."
There are 17 businesses in Minneapolis that are licensed as adult entertainment establishments. Fourteen of those provide erotic dancing and were the focus of the study.
Updated: March 27, 2017 06:11 PM
Created: March 27, 2017 04:53 PM
Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company