Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Trial offers a glimpse into the lives of Los Angeles' immigrant taxi dancers

Today's Madeleine Brand Show on KPCC will feature a segment on a court trial that offers a glimpse into the world of taxi dancers, what some once referred to as dime-a-dance girls. In 21st century Los Angeles, the women who take these jobs tend to be immigrants, in many cases undocumented women who, like other unauthorized workers, have little recourse if exploited.

The trial that began Tuesday involves federal charges against the operators of Club 907, a downtown hostess club raided by police last year, resulting in 88 arrests of employees; two of the club's managers are now charged with the ongoing employment of unauthorized workers. What's interesting about this story is that it's not just the government accusing the employers of illegal employment practices, but the dancers themselves.

Several of the women, in spite of their unauthorized status, filed a separate class action lawsuit against the club's operators, alleging sexual harassment, wage theft and substandard working conditions. KPCC business reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji will get into the details of the story on today's show at 9 a.m. Pacific on 89.3 FM. From a post this week on BlogDowntown:

LAPD's raid came after five months of investigation into the club, one of a half-dozen Downtown where men pay for time spent dancing and socializing with female employees. They are also known as taxi-dancing clubs"think of a taxi meter ticking as you take a ride across town.

According to rates posted on its door the night of the raid, Club 907 charged patrons $30 per hour.

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