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TORONTO – from www.torontosun.com – Student strippers are calling on City of Toronto officials to drop a licensing requirement they say will leave an electronic trail of their table-dancing gig as they go on to other jobs.
Up to 50% of Toronto’s 1,500 exotic dancers are now foreign or Canadian students hitting the stage to earn fees for college or university tuition and don’t want their night-jobs revealed, says an official of an association that represent dancers.
About 330 dancers on Wednesday presented a six-page petition to the Licensing and Standards Division, calling on officials to scrap the licensing process and adopt a registration system in which photographs and signatures are compared to that of dancers, organizers said.
Tim Lambrinos, of the Adult Entertainment Association, said they’ve been forced to recruit students from overseas and Canada after the Conservatives in 2003 allowed 428 dancers yearly entering Canada to about 10 last year.
“We have an increasing number of students working in the business and privacy is a big concern,” Lambrinos said Friday. “They work for a certain period of time to earn money and don’t want anyone to know what they did.”
He said dancers have to undergo a background security check as part of the city’s licensing process and some of that information can end up in police databases.
He said the registration process will prevent information from being placed on police databases.
“Sometimes when some girls try to cross the border the officers already know what they do for a living,” Lambrinos said. “Some of our dancers go on to become doctors and lawyers.”
Lambrinos said the Toronto stripper industry employs about 700 student strippers from Canada and other countries including the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, China and other parts of Asia.
“These girls are just dancing for the money,” he said. “They work and finish their schooling and are gone to other jobs.”
Toronto Licensing and Standards policy manager Rudi Czekalla said the issue is being reviewed and a recommendation will be presented to a committee on June 29.
“We are looking at what can be done legally and if we can do it,” he said. “This is not something we do every day.”
Czekalla said his officials are studying bylaws regarding the licensing of dancers an entertainment parlours.
He said strippers must have their licenses renewed yearly during which they have to undergo a security check.