Last month, Daniel Aaronson flew up to New Jersey to speak in front of the New Jersey
Adult Cabaret Association (NJACA). Along with Daniel Aaronson, Brad Shafer from Michigan
another First Amendment attorney and attorney John Williams from New Jersey were the guest
speakers. Although Jeff Levy, the Executive Director of the NJACA, sent out countless notices
of this event, the event still drew the usual players, the ones who are truly interested in the
NJACA and the ones who care about their and your First Amendment and adult freedoms.
There were club owners from all the various parts of the State of New Jersey in
attendance. But, to our dismay there were very few fresh faces in the audience. Our industry
suffers from the belief that the Big Boys, the ones with the big clubs will fight our battles and
protect us from the government and others who are trying to put down and destroy our industry.
Although these big boys have stepped up to the plate countless times, they can’t solely be relied
upon, and not just in New Jersey but in every State. All of you small club owners must start
attending your State Chapter meetings and get involved in protecting your industry, your rights
and your First Amendment freedoms.
For those of you who were in attendance, we take our hats off to you. For those of you
who were not in attendance, you missed some incredibly informative information. For example:
Brad Shafer spoke for no less that forty-five minutes on the difference between dancers being
employees, independent contractors, licensees, or some other form of agreement to dance. His
knowledge of the different tax ramifications and how the IRS views each classification is
unparalleled nationwide. Mr. Shafer presented a power point lecture that was worth thousands of
dollars of advice for those who attended.
As part of his presentation, Mr. Shafer explained the different tests used by the IRS and
State governments in determining what to classify your dancer as. He pointed out the little things
that could persuade a Judge, if necessary, that your dancers fall into one category as opposed to
the other. He highlighted some common misconceptions and pitfalls that our industry falls into
when having dancers dance at a club.
John Williams, Esq. made the State of the Organization’s Address. He talked about some
recent decisions in New Jersey affecting the State and how those decisions affected adult
entertainment within New Jersey. Mr. Williams is counsel is counsel for the NJACA.
Daniel Aaronson was the last to speak. Mr. Aaronson’s presentation dealt with United
States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He also spoke about amendments to
legislation in New Jersey that the NJACA was instrumental in getting passed, along with updates
and some of the cases that he is handling within the State.
As to ICE, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Aaronson
pointed out that they have targeted the adult entertainment industry as a source of human
trafficking and sex trafficking. He informed the members in attendance that ICE believes that
our industry is a source of “harboring” which under one provision of the U.S. Code carries up to
twenty years in prison and under another provision carries up to ten years in prison.
The essence of the crime of “harboring” is knowing that someone is illegal and using
them for commercial gain or if you are talking about human trafficking, knowing that they are
being forced or coerced to work in your club against their will. As to what kind of knowledge is
necessary, Mr. Aaronson pointed out that ICE looks at a standard of “should have known”. That
if there was evidence that then you should have realized that the person was being forced or
coerced to work for you, that maybe enough for the charge of “harboring”.
As to the harboring charge, dealing with somebody who is illegally in this country and
using them for commercial gain, someone can be here for legal purposes for one reason and be
illegal for another. For example, someone here on a tourist visa might not have the right to work
and therefore employing them is technically “harboring”.
Along with the criminal penalties, Mr. Aaronson also informed that there are forfeiture
penalties and civil penalties ranging from $110.00 to $1,100.00 per violation. Depending on the
nature of the violation, the government could choose to go either criminal or civil.
Lastly, Mr. Aaronson spoke about the requirements of I-9 form for those that are working
at your club who are not American citizens and whether they are needed for those who dance at
your club, who are independent contractors or licensees. Also mentioned was our industry’s
efforts to reach out to ICE and where those efforts are going.
Again, there was a tremendous amount of information imparted. Those who were not in
attendance missed out on a great opportunity to be educated, informed and support the industry.
Whether it is New Jersey, Florida, or any other State in this country when you hear of meeting
involving your adult entertainment association, it is time for you to start to attend. Not only will
you end up being educated, but you will make our industry stronger and as they say “united we
stand, divided we fall”.