NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Three strippers in Louisiana have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new state law that requires strippers to be at least 21 years old.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week, claims that the age restrictions on exotic dancing infringe on their rights to free speech and equal protection.
Two of the women in the lawsuit are from New Orleans, and the third is an LSU student from Baton Rouge.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to be an exotic dancer in Louisiana if you’re under 21 years old. New Orleans already has a similar ordinance on the books.
The statewide law goes into effect Oct. 1. The state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will be charged with enforcing the new law.
Supporters of the bill said it was an important measure to curtail human trafficking, while others said it was a way to encourage young women to find another career.
The three women suing the state maintain that they are in safe environments at their current jobs, and forcing them to stop dancing will only encourage them to be recruited by pimps, prostitutes and traffickers because they won’t be able to make a legal living dancing.
The dancers are asking a federal judge to overturn the law, allow them to return to work and to have the state pay applicable court costs.