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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Report seeks sex industry 'rules'
Pole dancers
Measures to clamp down on lap dancers are proposed
Tighter controls of the adult industry in Scotland are needed amid concerns of sexual and commercial exploitation, according to a report.

The findings come in a review by the Scottish Executive Adult Entertainment Working Group (AEWG).

It wants national guidelines preventing performers from touching customers, ensuring they are visible at all times and introducing a minimum age of 18.

Ministers will now consider the report's recommendations.

The AEWG was set up by the executive in March last year to review the scope of adult entertainment activity, after concerns about the lack of controls.

National regulations should be created to apply to all adult entertainment activity
Performers should not touch, or be touched by, customers, keeping 1m distance
There should be adequate security to prevent illegal activity
All activities should be visible at all times
There should be a minimum age of 18 for performers, public and employed staff
Councils should decide whether full nudity is appropriate for a specific venue
Regulations should not apply to artistic performances

It included representatives from the police, local authorities, universities, the industry and support groups.

Research was carried out into the experiences of employees, employers, women's groups and the types of controls which could be used.

AEWG chairwoman Linda Costelloe Baker said the group had found evidence of public concerns about exploitation of women involved in lap dancing, pole dancing and stripping.

She added: "We took into account concerns raised by operators, performers, customers and members of the public, all of whom wanted better regulation to prevent sexual and commercial exploitation.

"Adult entertainment is a complex issue and can be controversial, but I believe our common-sense recommendations will have wide support because they fill gaps in the current licensing regime, ensure consistency, and address the concerns raised in our programme of research.

"We note in particular that our recommendations, if accepted, will help protect the safety and welfare of performers, allow measures to be taken to lessen the adverse impact of adult entertainment on local communities, yet permit responsible operators and performers to continue in business."

The only changes I want to see, if at all, are increased health and safety
Veronica Deneuve

One dancer, Veronica Deneuve, who describes herself as a "well-respected stripper", has criticised the consultation.

She told the BBC Scotland news website that the measures could impact on women's earnings, forcing them into dangerous situations and prostitution.

Ms Deneuve said: "The only changes I want to see, if at all, are increased health and safety in strip bars throughout Scotland.

"I've worked all over and our changing rooms are always disgusting. No hygiene facilities.

"And I would like employment law to play a part. Strippers are self-employed. And, contrary to popular belief, most are actually registered taxpayers."

She also doubted whether the artistic arenas of film, theatre and dance would remain unaffected by any legislation.

The AEWG said the regulations were designed to ensure safety of performers, customers and communities. It did not cover prostitution.

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