Ordinance mandates closure of strip clubs when owner knowingly allows prostitution, children on premises.
Mayor Angel Taveras today announced passage of "one strike" legislation for adult entertainment clubs. The amended ordinance mandates that the Board of Licenses revoke the licenses of strip clubs in which the club owners are found grossly negligent in allowing prostitution or minors on their premises.
"Every child deserves our fullest protection," said Mayor Taveras. "This one strike ordinance takes action to make sure those responsible for any instance of child exploitation will be forced to close their doors. Providence has zero tolerance for child abuse and prostitution within any of the city's adult entertainment clubs."
"This ordinance continues our commitment to protecting women and minors in adult entertainment establishments, and requires that venues found to have allowed prostitution on their premises due to gross negligence have their licenses revoked," said Council President Michael A. Solomon. "The Council will work with the Mayor, the Police Department, and the Board of Licenses to ensure that this ordinance is enforced, and that this type of illegal activity is not tolerated."
Passage of the amendment follows the decision by the Board of Licenses late last year to give Cheaters Gentlemen's Club a $5,000 fine and a 45-day suspension of its license after police discovered a 14-year-old girl working in the club and soliciting for sex. The Taveras administration and the Providence Police Department urged the license board to permanently revoke Cheaters' license.
"The Providence Police Department will continue to aggressively combat prostitution and other illegal activities in adult entertainment clubs," said Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré. "With this newly strengthened law, we will pursue closure of any club that knowingly employs a minor or allows prostitution to flourish."
According to advocates, children who are victims of human trafficking and the illegal sex industry often share life characteristics such as poverty, involvement with the foster-care system, lack of education and poor physical health.
"Those of us caring for abused children know firsthand the importance of this ordinance," said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island. "Congratulations and thank you Mayor Taveras, Commissioner Paré and members of the City Council for putting child safety first."