Victory for Erotic Dancers at City Hall

Following two years of advocacy and organizing Minneapolis erotic dancers claimed a victory. Last Friday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will improve working conditions for adult entertainers.  

We have done extensive reporting on the ordinance process, including commentary from erotic dancers themselves. You can see all the articles by clicking here

Furthermore, we also recorded a podcast after the first hearing with commentary and observations from erotic dancers. 

After the ordinance passed U of M Ph.D. candidate and organizer for Minneapolis’ chapter of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)  commented that, 

I think this is a welcome first step towards building a community in which sex workers can expect transparency and accountability in their workspaces and from their elected representatives.

Council Member Andrea Jenkins saw the need to expand the work encouraging the assembled sex worker advocates to expand their outreach to those, “that don’t work in nightclubs.” 

SWOP organizer Ramona Falls was ecstatic after the ordinance passed. 

I am very moved, and I was most excited about a couple of council member comments, particularly Jenkins talking about this just being the first step in decreasing stigma and improving working conditions for all sex workers. I thought that was really significant and I’m very excited about that and excited that we’ll hopefully have their support on future projects involving all kinds of sex workers. 

Councilmember Cam Gordon initiated the multiyear process at the City Council level. 

Gordon mentioned that the ordinance represents a model process for examining a difficult and challenging issue. The two-year process, “really helped us develop a much better ordinance,” Gordon said. 

Councilmember Linea Palmisano echoed Gordon’s sentiments, “I am really proud that this has been an empowering experience for workers.”

It was also notable that there was no visible opposition in the room. In response SWOP organizer Andi Snow stated,

I think that speaks a lot to what we were asking for. We are asking for really basic labor rights protections and things that everybody deserves. And it’d be pretty hard to come against it and say, no, you don’t deserve.

Filiberto Nolasco Gomez is a former union organizer and former editor of Minneapolis based Workday Minnesota, the first online labor news publication in the state. Filiberto focused on longform and investigative journalism. He has covered topics including prison labor, labor trafficking, and union fights in the Twin Cities.

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