Citizens voiced their opinions Wednesday to Curry County commissioners — both in favor and against — a new adult store, Foreplayers, that opened in on West Hoffeldt Lane in Harbor earlier this month.
“I’m concerned about an adult store because usually, a strip show (business) opens,” said Gold Beach resident Mary Rowe. “It’s harmful to the community and it’s almost impossible to get rid of them.”
Rowe urged commissioners to enact an ordinance to ban such businesses in the county.
“They typically result in an increase in crime, they change our cultural values, norms and beliefs and objectify women,” Rowe said. “We’re a community that values people rather than exploits them.”
Commissioner Court Boice said earlier this month his concerns centered around the comments made by a woman two years ago who spoke out about young women and sex trafficking allegedly taking place in Harbor.
Harbor resident Gina Fay Early, a child sex-trafficking survivor and former club dancer, asked Brookings city officials and county commissioners in November 2017 to figure out a way to ban such businesses from opening shop in Curry County.
“If we allow sexually-oriented businesses here, it will have an adverse affect on our community,” Early said. “There will be an increase in crime, illegal drugs, pimping and pandering, prostitution, sexual harassment, domestic violence and assault.”
In some areas of the nation, sex traffickers will set up shop in an RV in a popular area such as the beach and force young women to lure men in for sex, police have said. It sometimes leads to women working in strip clubs. Law enforcement officials here are aware of the situation and are alert to the possibility that such activity could take place here.
Early told the board in 2017 that the life of a club dancer is often rife with coercion, with employees being mistreated, offered no benefits and forced to give kickbacks to the establishment.
“They have a lack of basic human rights,” she said, “but are afraid of speaking up because they might lose their job.”
Early told of her childhood days when she was used in sex-trafficking rings along the Interstate 5 corridor.
“I understand the issue,” she said. “It’s all over Oregon. It’s a huge problem.”
“Do we want our women to take such jobs to survive?” Rowe asked commissioners Wednesday. “Some homeless women here prostitute themselves in the winter for nothing more than to stay warm because we don’t have an emergency shelter.”
Nancy Sue Rose of Nesika Beach, however, said a strip club is a far cry from an adult store, noting that most minors would be too embarrassed to be seen in such a shop.
“Having a new business is a good idea,” she said.