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Strip clubs go under the microscope during public bylaw review session

Removing the adult entertainment licence for the former location of Famous Flesh Gordon's in the city's east end was unanimously supported by a city committee. Google Maps

Londoners will have their chance to give their thoughts on the future of strip clubs and body rub parlours in the city.

A public participation meeting is set for Wednesday afternoon as part of the city’s review of how it licences adult entertainment establishments.

The review has received added attention amid a push by the London Abused Women’s Centre to ban lap dances in the city. The women’s centre says lap dances and activities at body rub parlours meet the federal definition of prostitution and because of that, the activities shouldn’t be allowed to continue in London.

Not everyone agrees. Dr. AnnaLise Trudell of ANOVA, formerly the Sexual Assault Centre and Women’s Community House, says their organization wants to support sex workers and feels they should be able to make choices about what they do.

READ MORE: London strip club owner appealing denial of business license

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“If there are folks involved in strip club establishments that don’t want to be there, that don’t feel as though it is their choice, we support their ability to exit but we also don’t support saying that everyone is in the same bracket of not having a choice,” she said.

Current laws on prostitution in Canada, introduced in 2014, make it illegal to purchase sexual services but legal to sell them.

“We believe that sex work is a form of labour and one in which our role is to make safer. We’re not there to force our choices on people, we’re there to make sure all choices are as safe as could possibly be,” said Trudell.

Last month, the owner of the former Famous Flesh Gordon’s at 2190 Dundas St. E. and the body rub parlour at the same address appealed a decision to deny the necessary licenses for the businesses.

READ MORE: Adult massage parlour issue back on the docket at London city hall

City officials say the renovated strip club failed its site inspection and the parlour license lapsed last year so it was cancelled by city councillors.

It’s not known how long the appeal process will take.

While Wednesday’s public participation meeting will include a review of adult entertainment establishments, it isn’t the only item on the agenda. The review will also cover door-to-door sales, donation bins, e-cigarette and tobacco retailers, payday loans, pet shops and food trucks.

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The public participation meeting will start at 4 p.m. at London city hall.

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