THE future of Glasgow's lap dancing clubs will be decided this week.

Councillors will vote on whether clubs in the city should be licensed as sexual entertainment venues (SEV).

If the decision is made to licence the clubs then committee members will then recommend the number of licences available in the city.

A council committee will take a decision nearly two years from the launch of a public consultation on the issues involved.

A change to legislation in 2019 gave local authorities the power to licence lap dancing clubs - and set the number of licences at zero, effectively shutting them down.

Glasgow City Council launched a consultation in May that year, which prompted dancers to unionise in order to fight for their jobs.

One dancer, who asked not to be named, said: "I am absolutely delighted that after years of assumption Glasgow City Council took the time to engage in an honest and open conversation with dancers of different ages and backgrounds and listened.

"We, as dancers, do not feel unsafe, exploited or have experienced violence or sexual abuse.

"We welcome SEVs over any possible club closures but if all or any parties concerned about dancers' welfare had ever come to any of the adult entertainment venues and engaged in conversation with any dancer there would have been no need for any consultations or SEVs.

"Adult entertainment venues in Glasgow have been running to the highest standards for many years and the introduction of SEVs won't change that.

"As a wife and a mother I, our union representative Megara and many dancers had to take a lot of time away from family and other work obligations in 2019 to take to the streets with the #askthe700 campaign and prove to the public that we are safe and not exploited in the career that we as adults have chosen to do."

Papers going before committee on Wednesday show that multiple groups gave evidence, including feminist organisations, Police Scotland, club owners, an academic, and the dancers.

A total of 279 responses were received to the consultation, one of the highest received to a licensing consultation.

At a first evidence session in January last year, representatives from Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis; Say Women; Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership; Wise Women; The Daisy Project and The Standing Group on Violence Against Women raised multiple concerns.

They said lap dancing is a form of violence against women because it allows women to work for the sexual gratification of men.

The paper reads: "In addition, the representatives stated that SEVs promoted commercial sexual exploitation and contributed towards the inequalities that women currently face in life.

"Submissions were made from the experiences of the organisations, that the women who become involved in the SEV industry are 'overwhelmingly impoverished, 'vulnerable' and have often had 'previous child sexual abuse experiences'."

These groups asked that the number of licences in Glasgow is set to zero to prevent clubs from operating.

However, evidence given to committee relied on a study carried out in 2004 by feminist academic Julie Bindel with the committing saying no up to date information was made available.

Information given by Police Scotland said that the three SEVs in Glasgow present no problems to the force in terms of crimes or incidents.

A representative said it was the police force's position that a licensing regime would help enforce the same standards across all clubs.

Dancers who gave evidence to the committee had experience of working in the clubs ranging from eight to 24 years.

They, and representatives from GMB Scotland, also supported licensing the clubs and said that they feel safe at work, treated well and the job gives them flexibility to study, raise a family or cary out caring responsibilities.

All dancers said they had never known anyone to be sexually assaulted in Glasgow clubs or met any women who had been trafficked.

The paper goes on to say: "It was clear from the consultation responses and evidence sessions that there was a consensus that SEVs in Glasgow should be licensed."

The dancer added: "I can honestly say I do not know of any other industry that have had to fight so hard to prove to members of the public and Glasgow City Council that we are safe and that our chosen career is not violence against women.

"It will be interesting to see if Magic Mike or any of the male dance groups that visit Glasgow next will have to spend months in the streets of the city proving to council members and the public that their career isn't violence against men."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We received submissions and evidence from a wide range of interested parties during our consultation on the potential for licensing sexual entertainment venues in Glasgow.

“A report has been compiled on the basis of all information that was gathered and that report will be considered in detail by members of the Licensing Committee on Wednesday, March 24.”