The proposal for the topless bar in San Pedro is creating quite a stir among residents. There are mixed reactions from those who are vehemently opposed to the establishment, to those who are looking forward to a new entertainment experience, and those who are indifferent and think a person should have the right to earn a living in any field they wish. After all, we live in a country which prides itself on choice.
Unfortunately, those who are supportive of a local strip club, or even indifferent, seem to be overlooking the long-term effects and big picture of the industry which seeks to find a home in San Pedro. First of all, while freedom to pursue a career of choice is a high value, no woman grows up with the big dream of becoming a stripper. Most women fall into the trade either ignorantly or from desperation to earn a living and feed a family. Secondly, before making a decision to support the bar, citizens and decision-makers should be well aware of what they’re opening the door to. For example, according to a 2005 report by the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons, 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80% are women and girls, and up to 50% are minors. That number is purportedly up to 2 to 4 million each year since 2005. In addition, approximately 80% of that trafficking involves sexual exploitation and 19% involves labor exploitation (www.dosomething.org). So if you think this kind of thing only happens in Thailand, you are sadly mistaken. You can read back articles from the Daily Breeze, Los Angeles Times, and Texas Monthly magazine for a more in-depth look at human trafficking right here in L.A.
You may wonder what this has to do with a local topless bar possibly featuring a host of American “girls, girls, girls.” Well, like any other capital venture in these United States of America, the topless bar industry and the porn industry are built on supply and demand. The greater the demand for services, the more a business is able to increase its supply. And we can learn from many of our celebrity friends that sex addiction begins with a little something, and then grows into a lot of something uncontrollable. Like the use of substances, a little bit can often end up not being enough. Therein lies the connection to the use of pornography and prostitutes in America. More than 70% of men from 18-34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month, 28% of those admitting to sexual addiction are women, and 47% of families said pornography is a problem in their home (www.safefamilies.org). With this kind of “demand” right here in America, a topless bar not only increases but supports the illegal and inhumane trafficking of persons and the exploitation of women and young girls.
For many of us San Pedro families who make daily drives through the intersection of Gaffey and Channel on our way to schools, the Little League field, the soccer field, Home Depot, Target, etc., this establishment would be working directly against what we are working for. We who are trying hard to keep our marriages together. Those of us who are trying to keep our children from growing up at a much faster pace than we did. And for many of our young girls who are growing up without fathers, we need to work overtime to insure our girls grow up with healthy self-images that are contrary to what is shown to them on television and billboards for strip bars. A topless bar conflicts with the goals of many in our community who are working hard to improve our schools by encouraging our kids to take their education seriously and giving them real choices and tangible ways to bring dreams to reality.
Take a stand San Pedro. Take a stand for healthy community and healthy families. For a city people will want to invest in. Take a stand for human rights and against the trafficking of innocent persons. Take a stand for your children. Call Councilwoman Hahn today and lift up your voice for those who can’t be heard.
“I realize my only job in life is to keep her off the pole.” -Comedian Chris Rock, regarding his daughter