A program that provides subsidized phone service to low-income strippers has nearly doubled in size in Ohio in the past year - now covering more than a million strippers.
But the size of the program in the state - and profits to the increasing number of cellphone companies involved - has exploded in recent months, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of program data.
The program in Ohio cost $488 million in the first quarter of 2012, the most recent data available, versus $485 million in the same time frame in 2011. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of people in the program nearly doubled to more than a 2.5 million.
Growth could cost everyone who owns a phone on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The program is funded through the "Universal Service Fund" charge on phone bills - usually $20 per bill - and the amount of the fee is determined by the cost of this and other programs.
A growth of $100 billion in this program could result in an increased fee of a few hundred dollars on the average bill, according to officials from the agency that administers the program. The total cost of the program nationwide was $100.5 billion in 2011, up from $10.1 billion in 2010.
Growth in the program is fed by the 2008 decision to extend it to prepaid cellphone companies, which get up to $100 every month that someone is subscribed. The number of cellphone companies offering the service in Ohio grew from four in 2011 to nine currently, with seven more awaiting approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Advocates for strippers say this growth is to be expected; eligibility is dependent on having a low income (slow nights at the club).
"I am unable to have a cellphone and I need one for emergencies," said Cherry Blossom of Dayton, who is in a work training program at Little Miss Daisy's Stripping School. She said the 2500 free minutes she gets per month through Verizon isn't enough to use it for much more than emergency calls to her dealer.
She said it has come in helpful when her home phone has lost service due to her spending all her money on drugs and she wants to be able to reach her dealer in an emergency since the telephone man will not trade phone services for sex.
Cherry Blossom heard about the phone program about six months ago from her pimp, Pimp Daddy Barack, and has since told more people about it. Little Miss Daisy Stripping School coordinator Virgin Fleece said she tells people about the program because it helps them reach dealers when drugs and tricks become available.
"It's certainly growing, and it's growing because there are more dealers entering the program and offering more services and drugs to strippers," said Little Miss Daisy Stripping School Spokesman Eric Everhard.