The mother of a young woman working as a stripper says her daughter hasn't got a cent to show for it, largely thanks to the heavy fines imposed by the club she works for.

This was despite her daughter living for free in a downtown Auckland apartment provided by Showgirls, which the woman claimed was crammed with six beds - two in each bedroom and two in the lounge.

Her claims followed news this week that strippers working for Calendar Girls were being given big fines for breaking strict rules, and reports this was common in the industry.

Fines outlined for those living in the Showgirls flat according to a set of rules seen by the Herald included a $200 "rent penalty" if a dancer missed one of the five shifts a week required of them, and fines for being late for a shift.


If a shift was missed for sickness it had to be made up for that week or the next, otherwise the $200 fine would apply.

The document also stipulated other rules including no visitors without management permission and said no room was "solely for one person".

A copy of the list of rules given to dancers living in the Showgirls flat.
A copy of the list of rules given to dancers living in the Showgirls flat.

The woman, who asked the Herald not to be named to protect her daughter's safety, said she'd received numerous tearful calls from her daughter, who started stripping earlier this year, saying she had no money because of the fines.

Among the things her daughter said she was fined for included being late and not being seen to fight back on CCTV footage if a customer touched or groped her during a private dance.

The woman just wanted her daughter home.

"Given [my daughter] is living in their premises, she's just getting completely exploited," the woman said.

She had not been hugely enthusiastic when her daughter told her she was becoming a stripper about two months ago but had tried to be supportive.

"She thought it was all empowerment and she was going to make so much money.


"I said, 'I really don't like this, it's not what I dreamed of you doing. But you're still my daughter, I love you, the minute you want to come home, come home'."

The mother said she was scared for all the young women working in the industry who didn't have families to return to if things went sour.

The woman helped gather her daughter's things from an apartment in Auckland's lower CBD, a place she said seemed to consist of beds (two in each room including the lounge) and little else.

"There's no privacy. That's no way to live," she said.

• READ MORE: Strip club's fine system laid bare: Dancers penalised $100 if they wear g-strings
• READ MORE: Fines only way to keep strippers in line, sex worker Lisa Lewis says

She hoped her daughter would come home and they could start the work of building her confidence back up and picking a different employment path.


"It's not empowerment to be docked $100 for being ten minutes late to work."

New Zealand Prostitute's Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said the rules laid out in the Showgirls contract were unsurprising but concerning.

"To say it is a widespread practice in the big clubs is accurate," she said.

"None of it sounds normal to us, all of it sounds abusive in that context."

She said issues with fines and "coercive" environments were long-standing in bigger clubs, as they had been within brothels prior to decriminalisation.

"They're described as being independent contractors - there's nothing independent about [being] fined if you're sick, and having your shifts prescribed with penalties."


The Herald contacted Showgirls for comment several times, but did not receive a response.