Rhode Island Clubs Ban Teen Strippers

In a bow to public outrage, 10 strip clubs in Providence, R.I., have signed a pledge to stop hiring girls under the age of 18 while officials scramble to plug a legal loophole that made it legal for kids too young to drink to do the bump and grind in bars.

Board of Licenses Chairman Andrew Annaldo distributed the pledge, although some say it may not be legally binding, according to the television affiliate ABC6.

An executive order was also issued by Providence Mayor David Cicilline prohibiting the issuing of licenses for adult entertainment to clubs that hire teens under 18.

Just last month, the police discovered a loophole in the state's minor laws that do not restrict girls as young as 16 from working as strippers, as long as they are home by 11:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Strip Clubs Job Fair

The inconsistency came to light while police were investigating a 16-year-old runaway who had been working at one of Providence's notorious strip clubs. Police discovered that they could not prosecute, because there were no local or state laws barring teens from working in the city's thriving adult entertainment business.

"To think that any minor could just as easily be employed as a stripper is mind-boggling," said Elizabeth Roberts, Rhode Island's lieutenant governor.

In other parts of the country, even in Las Vegas, there are age limits on strippers, according to the report.

"It's an outrage that we would ever have allowed this to happen -- that anyone would hire a young person we are meant to protect," Roberts told ABCNews.com.

"Everyone was completely shocked to learn it wasn't against the law," she said. "None of us was aware of it."

Strip Club Described as 'Dark and Dirty'

The 16-year-old runaway had been working at Cheaters, described by the Boston Strip Club Directory as "dark and dirty."

Cheaters refused to comment to ABCNews.com.

"You get more contact here talking to a woman at the bar than you do in most clubs during a lap dance, and in the private rooms, anything goes for probably half the women working there, and the others will still make sure you leave happy," reported one of its customers.

Notorious Strip Clubs in Staid New England

Now, amidst the embarrassing publicity in a state that has one of the highest unemployment rates and a reputation for corruption, Roberts is supporting a bill introduced by state Rep. Joanne Giannini, D-Providence, that would close that loophole.

Providence's seven or eight strip clubs are notorious around otherwise staid New England.

When the Fraternal Order of Police comes to town for their annual convention, buses were hired to transport members to the strip clubs, according to local social historian Scott McKay.

When NFL teams come to the Patriots' Foxboro, Mass., stadium, they stay closer to Rhode Island so they can have evening entertainment, according to McKay.

Founded by religious dissidents, some say the state -- which is not really an island -- is quick to forgive. During his three-decade tenure as mayor Providence, Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, served two prison sentences.

Teen Prostitution, at Least Indoors, Not Illegal

Inconsistencies in Rhode Island law would allow teens to turn to prostitution, providing it's done indoors -- in a hotel room, club or private home. Prostitution is only illegal when the solicitation is done outdoors.

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