Beginning August 1, establishments in Louisiana can no longer hire strippers that are under the age of 21, under a law signed by Governor Edwards.

Senior Vice President for Gulf Coast Bank and foster parent, Kim Carver, says this legislation is important because girls who age out of foster programs are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking, especially if they go to work in strip clubs.

“Together we can take incremental steps to address our failures as a society to protect vulnerable children and young adults,” Carver said.

Jim Kelly with the Covenant House in New Orleans also supports the new law. He says a lot of the girls that come to Covenant House were strippers or victims of sex trafficking. He says if a girl has to be 21 to drink in an establishment, she should have to be 21 to take her clothes off in that same establishment.

“What I would ask you is would you want your own daughter at the age of 18, 19, or 20 to be dancing in a strip club,” Kelly said.

Robert Waters owns Rick’s Cabaret in New Orleans opposes this new law. He says not everyone who works in the adult entertainment industry is a victim. He says many of the dancers in his club do so for good reasons.

“They are in this business to support children, to support ill parents, or to overcome some negative life event, or they’re educating themselves, they’re involved in higher education,” Waters said.

Waters says he doesn’t know if this law will do any good, but he does know it will hurt a lot of people. He says there are dancers who depend on the money they make by dancing to support themselves.

“There are many people who are working for very good reasons who we will cause to have less than favorable outcomes if we prohibit them from working in this business,” Waters said.