Canada Targets Strip Clubs in Search of Trafficked Performers

TORONTOStrip clubs in the Toronto area are complaining that police have stepped up undercover operations with the goal of ensnaring trafficked performers. The increased surveillance, they say, is the result of a new campaign against human trafficking launched earlier this month by Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and the Royal Candian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The campaign was announced Sept. 7, and a press announcement was posted to Toews website, but it makes no mention of increased undercover operations by police, mentioning only the launch of “two national awareness campaigns to better inform the public about human trafficking.” Information is also provided where to provide information on people believed to be victims of human trafficking.

However, members of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada told the Toronto Sun that the undercover operations are especially unfair in light of the fact that there have been no recent arrests involving strippers who were trafficked or forced to dance.

“Our members are concerned and don’t want undercover officers targeting dancers in their work environment,” association spokesman Tim Lambrinos told the paper. “Everybody in the bar becomes a suspect.”

Business, he added, will suffer if the word gets around that the man or woman sitting next to you might be a cop.

“People will stay away from our clubs if they know the police are there,” he said.