Britain's lap-dancing clubs set to be banned?

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London, June 19 : Lap-dancing clubs in Britain may soon be facing tougher laws following the Government's bid to clean up the country's high streets.

An increasingly large number of such clubs have sprung up in the UK following the relaxation of licensing laws in 2003 - with many showing full strip shows.

They are not classified as "sex encounter" venues - making it easier to open despite locals' objections.

But residents may now get a say after Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe on June 18 vowed to close the loophole to clean up town centres.

He has written to council chiefs to seek their views on how the laws can be toughened up.

Sutcliffe fears the clubs could spread unless action is taken.

Campaigners claim some lap-dancing bars show nude and semi-nude performances, often in private booths.

The move emerges as family campaigners attacked the decision to give planning permission to six lap-dancing clubs in Brighton.

Classifying lap-dancing clubs as "sex encounter" venues would put them on the same legal footing as strip clubs, peep shows and sex shops - making them tightly regulated.

"Lap-dance clubs are part of the sex industry. Areas surrounding them can become no-go areas for women. But licensing rules mean local authorities cannot treat a lap-dance club any differently from a coffee shop. We urge the Government to untie the hands of authorities by licensing lap-dance clubs as sex encounter establishments. This would enable communities to have a greater say," The Sun quoted Kat Banyard, of the Fawcett Society women's rights group, as saying.

ANI

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