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I’m a stripper in the highlands

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A STRIPPER is urging people to support sex workers and stop the authorities from shutting down the Highlands’ only lap-dancing club.

On Monday (April 25), the Highland Council’s licensing committee – the UK’s largest authority by square miles – will consider public responses to sexual entertainment venues (SEVs).

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Kelsey hopes people will leave sex workers in Inverness alone
She loves her job and doesn't want to be taken away

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She loves her job and doesn’t want to be taken away
Kelsey works at Private Eyes in Inverness

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Kelsey works at Private Eyes in Inverness

The future of the Private Eyes Gentleman’s Club – the only strip club in the Highlands – hangs in the balance, and with it the jobs of 30 women who work there.

Local authorities were granted the discretion to license Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) in the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.

We told how in Edinburgh councilors voted to set licenses to ‘zero’ instead of four, which matches the number of strip clubs currently open in the capital, BANNING venues for the first time in Scotland .

But Kelsey Johnson, a dancer with the Inverness-based club and goes through Kelseyxo online, insists the move could be ‘hugely damaging’ to women’s safety, as female workers would be forced to work for clandestine agencies instead. security of a place.

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The 24-year-old, from Thurso, told the Scottish Sun ahead of Monday’s vote: ‘It’s 2022 I find the whole idea of ​​closing the only venue in the Highlands absolutely appalling and hugely damaging to safety women at best.

“All that will happen is that underground agencies will go after the girls and send them to events at hotels and stag and hen houses. It won’t force them to have regular jobs. It’s dangerous !

“Me and the girls would be heartbroken to see such a safe and amazing environment taken away from us so needlessly.

“I urge people trying to shut it down to think about their true motives, because the safety and happiness of women can’t be that.

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“It will only push women into dangerous situations or having to travel far to be able to do their jobs.”

The club currently employs 25 dancers and six bar staff, as well as security and other administrative services.

Kelsey always hears from female visitors how safe they feel drinking in the club, especially with the current problem of drinking spikes at regular clubs.

She continued: ‘A customer came to me yesterday saying this is the only bar in town she feels safe to have a drink in, her exact words were ‘there is no bar safer for women or men than here'”

“We have many female clients and hen parties for this reason. It would be a huge step backwards for the safety of highland women who have chosen to be dancers.”

As officials prepare to make a decision on the venue’s future this week, the OnlyFans bestselling model believes sex workers are being shut out of political conversations in favor of scare tactics.

Submissions from NHS Highland and groups such as Highland Violence Against Women Partnership, among others, call for the number of SEVs to be set at zero and claim that strip clubs are a ‘public health’ issue.

Strikingly, Kelsey added: “I don’t know who these groups think they are to constantly take it upon themselves to speak on our behalf.

“All they are trying to accomplish is take away our safe workplace and in turn deny us freedom of choice.

“I think they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Kelsey, who we previously told how she paid off her £400,000 mortgage with earnings from her sex work, blames ‘stigma’ around clubs linked to allegations of rape, human trafficking, assault and prostitution.

Such claims came from a public submission by Highland’s Violence Against Women Partnership written by DCI President Donald MacDonald, who said: “Sexual entertainment venues are places where abuse of young girls and women is rife and where the degradation of those trapped in poverty is normalized.

“The pathways to the ‘spectacle’ range from abusive childhoods, human trafficking and perceived lack of alternatives.

“Verbal, physical and sexual harassment and assaults of dancers are common and ongoing.

“It is done by punters and staff. Assaults include GBH, harassment, rape and gang rape.”

But Kelsey replied furiously: “It’s the stigma that surrounds strip clubs because you’re in England and in the States, it’s so different here and people don’t realize that. .

“The rumors of assault, sex trafficking and forced labor are so misleading that I would honestly find it laughable if it wasn’t such a serious situation.

“They can’t cite real examples of what’s going on at the club, so these are blatant lies.”

NHS Highland and HVAWP both complained that the draft policy did not seek to set the number of SEVs to zero, but in a response from council officers it was clear that was left to elected members to decide. rather than officials.

A council officer said: “It remains open to the committee in light of the consultation responses received to determine whether further consideration is required in relation to setting a maximum number of SEVs that can operate in the Highlands.

“Members will note that it is within the authority of the committee to set the maximum number to zero (zero being that no SEVs are allowed to operate in the Highlands).”

A Private Eyes spokesperson said: ‘We have operated Private Eyes across Scotland for 24 years without issue and there have been no cases of outrageous allegations made specifically by NHS Highland.

“We have comprehensive club rules both on how dancers should behave and we have a duty of care to staff and another to customers.

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“We are proud to have dancers who have worked with us for, in some cases, 20 years due to the safe and friendly environment.

“Across Scotland, in all the different clubs, there has never been a case of human trafficking, prostitution or underage dancers for over 25 years.”

Kelsey fears for the staff's future

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Kelsey fears for the staff’s future

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