Canadian strip clubs set to recruit from high schools due to visa ban

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News Writer
Daily Brew

Strip club recruiters might be coming to a high school near you. And they're blaming new immigration laws.

This month, the federal government stopped issuing visas or extensions for foreign strippers. These strippers currently represent about 5 per cent of the 38,000 working strippers in Canada.

"The government cannot in good conscience continue to admit temporary foreign workers to work in businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in a speech he delivered in Calgary.

The visa ban prevents strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours from having access to foreign women, something that these services need to thrive, Timothy Lambrinos, director of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, told QMI Agency.

"They're destroying the industry by creating a labour shortage," Lambrinos said. "The word 'exotic' means foreign and that's what people want to see."

"There's no excitement. There's nothing. We then have to rely on locals, so the interest dies out," Mitch Fillion of Superb Entertainment, who books strippers for about 50 bars across Manitoba, complained of the visa ban to the Winnipeg Sun.

[ Related: Bill C-38 to 'strip' foreign strippers of work visas ]

Because of the impending shortage, the association created a "six-point action plan" to help keep the exotic women in Canada.

"That includes more recruitment of women in high schools and colleges, lobbying the government for changes and if all else fails, the strippers plan to file refugee claims or marry Canadian citizens to sponsor them," reports.

Recruiters are set to attract students at high school, college and university job fairs, advertising stripping as a great way to raise tuition money.

"We are already doing some outreach work in some areas," Lambrinos said. "We will be taking a strippers' dance pole with us to the schools."

Yes, our university-bound daughters are going to be told that they should strip for their tuition.

Andrea Demeer of The London Free Press writes that "sex can be a dirty business" and ensuring safe working conditions is no easy thing. She argues that Canadian strippers have some advantages over foreign workers: they understand the culture, are more likely to have a local support system, and have better access to social services.

"It is irresponsible to say to women, 'Welcome to Canada, a land of opportunity. Now take off your clothes.' The only distressing thing about the federal government's decision to bar sex trade-related businesses from hiring foreign workers is the gut-wrenching question: Why was it ever allowed in the first place?" she writes for QMI Agency.

Timea Nagy, a victim of trafficking who now helps human-trafficking victims, agrees:

"I'm not saying it's in every club, but it's very, very typical for me to hear to this day from the girls that we work with that they get harassed or raped or sexually assaulted and it goes unreported. And those are Canadian girls. Imagine what a foreign girl goes through when she goes and works here in a club," she told the Globe and Mail. "Super, super vulnerable."

If the government is trying to protect women by banning these visas, why are we allowing recruiters to tell Canada's bright young minds that they should get naked for money?

Expect some very angry parents in the near future.

[ Related: Pubs, clubs in B.C. call in exotic dancers to boost customers ]