DEAR ABBY: I am an adjunct teacher in a small college in the Midwest. For the most part, my students are great, but one breaks my heart. I admire him because he has overcome some incredible obstacles. Last year, he lost a good job and had to drop out for a time. He's back now, and when I asked about his new job, he said he runs a strip club.
At first, I thought he was kidding, but he assured me he manages more than 50 ladies who, at the end of their shift, leave with their lives and their dignity. He doesn't strike me as a common street pimp and I realize he took this job to survive. I'd like to approach him outside the classroom and offer to help not just him, but his employees. I don't want to come across as a do-gooder, but I don't think this is a great career.
I know this letter may make for some funny water cooler conversations, but the truth is people who get sucked into the vice trade have a hard time getting out and often come to a bad end. Do I care about my students too much, or am I being judgmental? -- WANTS TO HELP IN ILLINOIS
DEAR WANTS: I think it's a little of both. You are well-meaning, but may have jumped to some incorrect conclusions. Managers of adult entertainment clubs are not "pimps"; they are club managers. Further, just as not all prostitutes are exotic dancers, not all exotic dancers are prostitutes. Many are single women working to support themselves and their children; others may be students trying to pay for their educations.
Before trying to "rescue" any of them, visit the club and see firsthand what is -- and is not -- going on there. If there are underage girls being forced to work there, report it to the police. If not, recognize that they are adults and able to make their own career choices. While I admire your good heart, the individuals you're worried about may not need your assistance.