Murdered Stripper Found in Bag in Lake Worth

Tiffany Nelson

Murder victim Tiffany Nelson (via Facebook)

The body of a murdered woman found stuffed in a garbage bag Monday in Lake Worth was that of a pretty, and very young, T’s Lounge stripper with a drug habit, Gossip Extra has learned.

Tiffany Nelson, 20, was dancing at the West Palm Beach club made famous by Octomom‘s botched appearance for more than a year.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies have deemed her death a homicide but won’t say how she was killed until they find a suspect.

“Her death was violent,” PBSO Spokesman Teri Barbara said.

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The young woman lived near the L Street alleyway were she was found Monday morning, after cops were alerted by neighbors who reported a foul odor. The bag, next to an abandoned house, may have been there for several days without anyone noticing.

“It’s a damn shame,” said T’s owner Gary Odle, whose club made national news this year for hiring Nadya ”Octomom” Suleman then losing her strip show to a rival club.  ”I hope they catch whoever did that to (Nelson).”

According to Nelson’s Facebook page, she loved riding horses on the beach and attended the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm.

She also appeared to have a substance abuse problem.

In a Facebook entry last year she wrote: “SOBER & FEELING BETTER THAN EVER! I am and will forever just be me, smart, excited, maybe a little crazy at times, always smiling and laughing. I love to travel and I love God. But being clean is the most important thing!”

According to court records, she was briefly jailed twice in past three months, once for failing to appear in court and a month ago for possession of a crack pipe.

If you have info about what could’ve happened to Tiffany, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS. You can also text tips@cspbc.com or email  www.crimestopperspbc.com.

Murder victim Tiffany Nelson

Murder victim Tiffany Nelson, last year in California (via Facebook)

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Comments

  1. debra tomarin says

    I think the Dr. who allowed and implanted the eggs in Octomom should be held responsible and surely he has malpractice insurance. This is such an injustice! That girl needs help!
    I would like to start a petition against the Dr. who performed this implantation of those eggs as he was tototally out of line with what he did. He is responsible not this mother.
    Society must pay for this too! Those poor children do not deserve to suffer and they did not ask to be born! We need to start this immediately. WE need as responsible people who care for mankind to band together for these children and their rights.
    Please help me start a fund or petition to go after this Dr.? He was so wrong!
    What morals did he have when he knew her situation? He knew her family size, he did a background check. He is quilty! Please help this cause!.

    • Barbara says

      This story isn’t really about Octomom’s doctor. It’s about a murdered girl who happened to work at the same club Octo appeared at ONCE over a year ago.
      No need to start a fund or petition to go after the Doctor (Kamrava). He has already been to trial and lost his medical license.

  2. karen says

    what a tragic waste of life. she was so young she looks about fourteen or fifteen that is probably why she was hired at that horrible filthy roachy flashdance place thats really messed up and wrong to hire young young girls to hook and strip. the owner says he is sorry about what happened and i imagine he is but why did he allow her to prostitute and strip in his bar?? MONEY MONEY MONEY and now she is gone, what can you expect thru from a bar who would let that creature OCTOMOM perform nobody would pay to see that surely.

    i hope they catch the creep. and close down the bar. why risk AIDS and murder????

    • Dan says

      She’s 20, It’s T’s not Flashdance and who said anything about hooking in the article. Did you read the write-up or just knee jerk react because it’s a strip club. You know an alot about a place i’m guessing you’ve never entered.

      • karen says

        I DID read the article in the sun-sentinal. got the bar name wrong but that does not matter a dump is a dump and they both that. if you read the article in the sentinal you will see that a cop stopped her at federal and 6th ave for soliciting a white mercedes car and then found drugs on her. And yes you are correct I never entered these sleazy bars but I know several cops who are friends and neigbors and they have pretty much described conditions and what goes on, I mean dan who are we kidding? everyone knows its drugs and prostitution. Look I feel very bad for this young girl its a horrible thing what happened and I hope they find the man responsible, but lets not pretend the lifestyle is good, i just hope this keeps other young girls from dancing at dens of danger and disease.

        • Dan says

          I have friends in the biz thus my interest and concern and do, on occasion, visit these establishments. My experiences are different. That being said, we can agree on the tragedy and if it influences someone to take their life in a different direction, i’m all for them walking that path. In most every situation that seems this senseless and avoidable, my only hope is it influences others in a positive way. Hug their kids, call a long lost friend, etc.

          I do respect your opinion.

          • karen says

            And I respect you’re Dan. I am glad your experiences have been different I just get my information from some of the policemen that have told me of trouble. I feel so bad for this young woman and do not understand why no one reported her missing for days? it seemed like she was trying to get out of the business and become a chef and it galls me to thinks some sicko did this too her, no one should be in a trash bag! do they think it was a customer? someone who trailed her home? or offered a ride? someone she waited on before and trusted? thats where the police should start i guess. I feel very badly for her mother and I hope something like this never happens again, we all have daughters, mothers, sisters, nieces, wives and girlfriends and being a woman makes us vunerable i know. we need protection, all women. i have two pit bulls an alarm system and a gun, its a shame i have to do all that but we must protect ourselves, may the police make a very very quick arrest,,

        • Sarah says

          Not all strip clubs are drugs and prostitution. And that’s up the the girl. These clubs open in the morning and allow girls to work to make money, however , it is up to the girl weither or not she does the “drug scene” of the club or not. She most likely was working for someone, “pimp” and she probably didn’t make enough money one night and some pimps, depending on who he is, will make girls work on the side of the road if they did not bring in enough money or kill you if u refuse to do so. Stuff like that. I’m sure this club has no responsibility to the wear about’s of this girl after she left the club, almost 100%.

  3. baby says

    I know in boynton beach they closed two strip bars down in one year and things improved so much, the crime rate went down the streets cleaned up and people were proud again of BB.

    when they raided the two places they were filthy used condoms, needles, drug paraphanalia, etc….the cops said they never saw anyone two places so bad. now one is a church and one is opening as a restaurant. perhaps if west palm beach did this especially to the two that are very bad, crime and disease and robberies and deaths would go down. places like these breed crime and criminals. i am very sorry for that girl who was killed, i just hope it stops others from entering into the hellish life of stripping prostituting and drugs. she is in heaven now out of pain.

  4. r.i.p tiff says

    i knew her personally, she was doing awsome. getting closer to her fsmily loving her self more then ever. left her addiction :{ r.i.p beauityful

    • riptiffy says

      Tru she was doing awsome NOT everything u hear / read on the “tv//internet is true …so karen u can shut the fuck up everything Your talking about is he said she said nothing is fact!

  5. Alicia says

    As a former employee of The Landing Strip I just have to say that yes there are adult situations that go on in these clubs, however, the women are there of their own free will. I know of more women who dance to earn a good living not support a habit. Women like Karen are the ones whose husbands bankroll these girls. I’m sure her man would rather hang out with a cute, personable, non-judgmental girl any day of the week than a mean, gossiping, judgmental woman like her. Mark my words, if and when the killer is caught it won’t be a customer or someone affiliated with her dancing. If your police friends know anything it’s that the guys hanging out are regular run-of-the-mill neighborhood guys…like your husband. RIP Tiffany. Shame on you Karen for talking out of your ass! Those are the words of a bitter woman.

  6. Kristie says

    Karen if you would like to know the TRUTH about Gentlemen’s clubs and “who & what” dancers are really all about. Check this out
    Students Who Strip: The Benefits of Alternate Identities for Managing Stigma= Premium Content Log In |Create a Free Account |Subscribe NowMonday, April 8, 2013Subscribe Today
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    February 18, 2013
    The Student Body, for Sale
    To meet the rising cost of college, students can call on at least one resource all their own
    Pete Marovich for The ChronicleKyle J. Parliament, a senior at Liberty U., sells his plasma every Thursday and Saturday at this center in Lynchburg, Va. “If I hadn’t donated plasma, I’d be in the red right now,” he says.
    By Don Troop
    Last June a college student named Michael pondered his options for summer employment. He was already working as a children’s swimming coach at a country club near his family’s home, but the salary worked out to less than minimum wage. He joked with his friends that he could make more money as a stripper.

    “I’ve always been kind of the goofy one, and I love to dance,” says Michael, a Navy ROTC midshipman at a large public university in the South. Like most of the other students interviewed for this article, he asked that his full name and college not be used.

    He sent a few head shots to a club that was looking for male talent for its weekly “ladies night,” and, after a series of auditions, he was hired. The next Saturday he climbed onto the stage and gyrated in what he describes as “minimalist underwear” before several dozen tables of shrieking women. In an hour, he earned more money in tips than he had been paid all week at the country club. For the rest of the summer he worked weekdays at the pool and stripped Saturday nights at the club. “I’d walk out with maybe $600 or $700 a night,” he says.

    While 60 percent of American college students graduate in the red, owing an average of $25,300, Michael will depart free of debt and rich with stories about his life as a stripper.

    Enlarge ImageBrian Blanco, The New York Times, ReduxDancers collect tips after performing at a strip club in Tampa, Fla. If the tips are good enough, the strippers can make several hundred dollars a shift.
    The sale of bodily goods or services—”body commodification”—is nothing new among college students. But strides in medical technology, the encroachment of market values on all facets of life, and the reach and culture of the Internet have combined to create a fertile environment for people who want or need to exploit the value of their skin or what lies beneath it—including students struggling to cover the rising cost of college in this sluggish economy.

    Students sell plasma, take requests to perform custom erotic acts on Web cameras, or offer themselves as guinea pigs in paid drug trials. A master’s student in Penfield, N.Y., says she was kicked out of her social-work program last June for snuggling with strangers—no sex allowed—for $60 an hour. A handful of Web sites, like SeekingArrangement.com, promise introductions to young and attractive men and women—often students—for “mutually beneficial relationships.” An advertisement in campus newspapers at three elite colleges offers $35,000 for the eggs of a young woman with an SAT score above 1400. And though no one in the United States is openly selling kidneys from live donors, Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics started receiving inquiries from financially desperate people after it posted an article on its Web site in 1998 exploring the ethical issues that would surround such a market. When the economy tanked, staff members saw a surge in letters like this one:

    I just read your information about how many people need a kidney. I would like more information about it and how I could sell one of my kidneys to your university because I really need money. I want to go to college, but it’s really expensive.

    The shifting terrain of body commodification has prompted scholars to take a renewed look at how similar behaviors are socially and morally classified in starkly different ways, depending on who is involved, how much power they have, and how the transaction is carried out.

    “A transaction is exploitative only if the terms are unfair,” says Alan Wertheimer, a senior research scholar in the department of bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. That can be a difficult thing to determine, he says. In his book Exploitation (Princeton University Press, 1996), Mr. Wertheimer cites a 1992 New York Times interview with the owner of a strip bar that was accused of exploiting women. “If anyone is exploited,” the man tells the reporter, “it is the men, the guys buying into the fantasy of ‘she really likes me.’”

    A 27-year-old woman in a suburban mid-Atlantic area dropped out of community college two and a half years ago to pay off bills and save up for a degree in graphic design. We’ll call her “J.” She had been eking out a living as a waitress when she decided to take a turn on the stage of a local strip club that paid $500 to the winner of its weekly amateur night. She remembers little about that night, except that she won the contest and brought home $700 in prize money and tips.

    “I was on an adrenaline blackout,” J says in an interview. “At the end of the night, I couldn’t believe I had done that. It made me feel like I was a different person than I had ever known.”

    The manager offered her a job on the spot, and she began dancing one or two nights a week, bringing home $200 to $700 per shift, in addition to her waitressing job elsewhere. Each night she works, she pays an upfront $35 fee to the club and must also tip the DJ and the “house mom.” The strippers dance on the stage for tips, then walk around and offer lap dances lasting about four minutes: $20 for topless, $40 for fully nude. Touching by patrons is forbidden. A private session in the VIP or “champagne” room costs $190 if the woman is topless, $245 if she is nude. Nonsexual touching, such as a foot massage, is allowed, and patrons who cross the boundary are ejected.

    “Those are the guys who probably feel exploited,” she says, “since they’ve spent a lot of money and maybe they feel that they’re going to get something out of it.”

    When she’s not stripping, J sits with the customers and talks, sometimes offering “superficial comfort” to men who pour out their problems to her and lament their inability to meet such a “beautiful and nice” woman outside of a strip club. “I have to occasionally remind them that this is work, this is a facade,” she says. She is careful not to mention her boyfriend or her goal of saving up to return to college. “I prefer to remain a stranger,” she says. “I like to be a fantasy person.”

    She adds that, contrary to stereotype, few strippers are drug addicts or prostitutes.

    Students who moonlight as strippers are often able to buffer themselves against the potentially negative effects of the job precisely because they are students, says Mary Nell Trautner, an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo. She and Jessica L. Collett, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, analyzed interviews with strippers for a 2010 paper in the journal Symbolic Interaction, “Students Who Strip: The Benefits of Alternate Identities for Managing Stigma.”

    “Students who strip can alleviate some of the stigma from their occupation by rationalizing their work,” the two scholars wrote. “Whether or not they rely on their earnings for tuition, these women believe that stripping is supporting a series of positive life choices they have been making,” in contrast to “what they see as negative life choices of ‘other’ dancers.”

    But there is a downside. Student strippers typically keep the job secret from family members, classmates, and professors, Ms. Trautner and Ms. Collett wrote, an arrangement that can leave them feeling alienated and estranged: “Engaging in so many partially inauthentic interactions outside work can impede their ability and comfort in building intimacy with others or expressing themselves.”

    Occasionally the secret slips out. Nicole, one stripper who was described in the paper, was a member of a sorority at a small, private liberal-arts college in another city when she bumped into three of her professors at the club. “They were just as embarrassed as I was,” she told Ms. Trautner. “It was kind of like, I saw you, and you saw me, it’s OK, but let’s just keep this quiet.” And things did stay quiet—until the entire football team showed up to celebrate after a game, Nicole recalled, an experience that led her to transfer to another college:

    I was so embarrassed, but there was nothing I could do. I was onstage. I was totally ostracized by everyone after that. When the girls in my sorority found out, they didn’t kick me out, but they really shunned me and called me names like “slut” and “whore.” And the guys, well, they just all figured that they could all score with me because I was a dancer.

    J says that, initially, she didn’t know stripping carried a stigma. “As time has progressed, I really don’t tell people about it anymore,” she says. Her brother, who is younger, was furious when he learned about her job, but eventually he got over it, she says.

    Her experience contrasts sharply with that of Michael, who acknowledges “an unfortunate double standard” in how male and female strippers are regarded. “When people hear that I’m a male stripper, they say: ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s so awesome! That’s the coolest thing ever!”

    At the same time, he understands that his employer, which neither pays him nor demands a house fee, is making money from the display of his body. “Even though they might be exploiting me from an outsider’s standpoint, I’m still getting all the benefits I’m looking for,” he says. “I’m having fun and making plenty of money on my own.”

    For J, stripping is a job, and one she hopes to quit soon. She has managed to sock away some of her tip money, but she is still going to have to take out loans before re-enrolling in college. She’ll also have to move back in with her mother, who J says knows nothing of her night job or the steep rise in the cost of a college education over the past 30 years (up an inflation-adjusted 257 percent for in-state students at four-year public colleges since 1982-3, according to the College Board).

    “She can’t quite grasp the concept that school isn’t five bucks a credit anymore,” J says. She declined to take her mother’s advice for offsetting the cost of tuition and books: sell her eggs. “That’s invasive surgery, isn’t it?” J asks.

    Perhaps no other form of body commodification is more closely identified with students than the market for egg and sperm donors. College newspapers and Craigslist carry advertisements seeking women and men, particularly students with high GPAs and SATs, who are willing to “donate” their gametes. The verb is a euphemism, says Rene Almeling, a Yale University assistant professor of sociology who explored the multibillion-dollar reproductive-technology market in Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011).

    “Although it would be shocking to see a child listed for sale, and it is illegal to sell one’s organs, it is routine for egg and sperm donors to receive financial compensation,” Ms. Almeling wrote. Egg donors in the United States are typically paid $5,000 to $10,000, a voluntary ceiling established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Sperm donors get about $100 per donation; if the sperm count is too low, they get paid nothing at all.

    The first pregnancy from donated eggs didn’t happen until 1984, Ms. Almeling notes, but the first documented artificial insemination from donated sperm occurred 100 years earlier. Producing sperm was long a source of income for medical students, says Ms. Almeling, because they were available to provide fresh samples. By the end of the 1980s, sperm banks were relying on the undergraduate population to satisfy the growing demand.

    Egg agencies have always had an abundance of donor applicants, and Ms. Almeling says the recession has seemed to attract even more.

    “We live in a country where there is pretty extreme income inequality,” she says. “So there are a number of different jobs that people do that they would not choose to do if they had other options. The kinds of things that you’re seeing among students is just reflective of a larger system of income inequality.”

    In preparation for her book, Ms. Almeling interviewed 19 egg donors and 20 sperm donors—including several college students—as well as 45 staff members from four egg programs and two sperm banks. She found “subtle differences” in how donations by the two sexes are regarded: “Egg donation is portrayed as an altruistic gift, while sperm donation is considered an easy job.” At one sperm bank, she wrote, “the founder proudly showed off what he called ‘masturbatoriums,’ small rooms with erotic pictures on the walls and flat-screen televisions for watching pornographic movies.”

    Staff members at the egg agencies, Ms. Almeling says, are careful to talk with the donors to ensure that they experience “the emotional work of caring about recipients” without becoming overly attached to the offspring. But “sperm banks spend zero time” counseling their donors, she says, a deficiency that was evident in her interviews with them. “To a person they said, ‘I’m the father. Those are my children. My parents are their grandparents. My children are their half-siblings.’” So although sperm donors don’t experience the “emotional labor” that egg donors do, Ms. Almeling says, the experience leaves the men feeling like employees, objectified and alienated.

    In Austin, Tex., a community-college student we’ll call “G” received word last fall that a couple had selected her to be the biological mother of their child, a role for which she will be paid $5,000. Six years had passed since she placed her name on an egg-donor database, unbeknownst to her conservative parents, when she was 18. Last month she began a regimen of hormone treatment to stimulate egg production.

    “They warned me not to have sex,” she says. “If you do get pregnant, you become Octomom or something.”

    As G learned, college students who volunteer as egg and sperm donors do so at the expense of sexual spontaneity. G says she had consulted her boyfriend before agreeing to donate her eggs. Sperm donors generally need about 48 hours between ejaculations to recover fertility. Two to three donations a week mean four to six days of sexual abstinence, according to Ms. Almeling.

    G was nervous about the egg-retrieval process, and understandably so. The risk of serious complications is small but real, Ms. Almeling says, with about 1 percent of donors suffering problems like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, infection, bleeding, and side effects from anesthesia. This month G underwent the procedure, in which doctors pressed a needle through the vaginal wall and into the ovary. On a scale of 1 to 10 the pain was an 8, she says, more than she had expected. The doctors took 27 of her eggs, which the recipient couple can use as they please. “I will have no way of knowing anything,” G says.

    As a woman of Asian descent, she says, “I’m really happy to give an Asian couple an Asian baby.” But she maintains that her role is as helper, not mother. “A mom is someone who raised you.”

    Although she does not know the couple who chose her, contact between egg donors and recipients is not uncommon. Likewise, more sperm banks are encouraging openness, so that when children turn 18 they can contact their donor fathers.

    The implications are enormous, says Ms. Almeling, who warns students to consider the consequences of being donors. “This might look really different in a decade or two,” she says, “in terms of how they think about these kinds of family relationships and what kinds of expectations there are for people who donated in the past.”

    She describes one donor whose sperm resulted in three children, the oldest of whom is a year or two away from adulthood. Years after the donor stopped giving sperm, however, he and his wife were unable to conceive. He had become infertile.

    “Now he’s on the cusp of actually meeting his biological offspring,” Ms. Almeling says. “He had a lot of concerns about how his wife felt about all this.”

    Now that she is done with her egg donation, says G, who has so far managed to avoid tuition debt, she wants to quit her job as a waitress and enroll full time to become a programmer for a software-development company. If selling her eggs was what it took to get her there, she says, then so be it. After all, even waitressing takes a toll.

    She recalls reading a comment on a social-networking site by a woman who maintained that she felt more empowered as a prostitute than as a waitress, having worked both jobs. “When you’re waiting tables,” says G, “you have to kiss ass. You can’t say no, regardless.” The prostitute, however, said she’d felt free to reject certain clients or sexual requests.

    In his book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012), the Harvard University professor of government Michael J. Sandel asserted that market values have permeated everyday life so completely that virtually everything is for sale, including the body. “We have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society,” he wrote.

    Mr. Sandel offered countless examples of goods and services that were once beyond the reach of the market but can now be had for a price, like the use of a surrogate mother in India or, for children of potentially generous donors, admission to a prestigious university in America. He asked, “Are there some things that money can buy but shouldn’t?”

    To explore that question, Mr. Sandel raised two arguments for moral limits on markets: the fairness objection and the corruption objection. The first asserts that where inequality exists, a person’s decision to sell something like a kidney might not be truly voluntary. The second argues that certain goods and services, like sexual intimacy, are degraded and objectified when they are made available for purchase.

    Economic sociologists such as Ms. Almeling, at Yale, and Viviana A. Zelizer, at Princeton University, believe that the reality is more complex. A transaction that many would see as corrupting might be viewed less judgmentally if it creates the potential for a positive result.

    For example, says Ms. Zelizer, if a student exchanges sex for cash to cover her college expenses, she will regard that decision differently. “By saying, ‘I’m doing it for tuition,’ it kind of cleanses the money,” says Ms. Zelizer, author of The Purchase of Intimacy (Princeton, 2005). “Prostitutes themselves differentiate between the money they earn from prostitution and the money they earn from clean sources, and they spend it differently.”

    Kieran Healy, an associate professor of sociology at Duke University, points to Ms. Zelizer as a pioneer in looking at such transactions in a way that is sensitive to the social meaning of monetary exchange.

    Mr. Healy likens the sociologists’ approach to the distinctions that epidemiologists have long made in the study of sexual activities. “They no longer talk about gay men, for instance, because being gay is a social identity, whereas having sex with a man is an actual practice that two people physically do.”

    In Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs (University of Chicago Press, 2006), Mr. Healy describes how, in the 1960s, America’s blood supply was split into two streams: whole blood, which is given freely by donors, and plasma, for which donors are paid. “The seedier or seamier side of the blood industry has always been on the plasma side,” he says. “The market that the plasma people rely on is relatively poor people, and it’s a somewhat disrespectable activity.”

    The United States has become the world’s biggest supplier of plasma in part because, unlike Britain and Canada, that part of its blood supply has remained a for-profit system. Mr. Healy says the poor, not college students, continue to be the largest proportion of plasma donors. But many students are on the lower end of the economic spectrum, and the proximity of plasma-donation centers to many colleges hardly seems coincidental.

    Kyle J. Parliament, a senior at Liberty University, has been selling his plasma twice a week ever since he moved off campus. “I use the money for gas, to get McDonald’s or whatever, small purchases and occasionally groceries,” he says. “If I hadn’t donated plasma, I’d be in the red right now.”

    Although he feels some altruism for giving—plasma is vital for treating burn victims, he points out—the money remains his main motivation. He was paid $40 each for his first four donations. Now he gets $25 for his first donation of the week and $30 for his second, and he estimates that he pulls in more than $2,000 a year and has the potential to make $130,000 over his lifetime.

    Mr. Parliament did inquire elsewhere about donating sperm but was told that at 5-foot-8, he was too short. A plan to volunteer as a test subject when he was still living in Michigan didn’t work out, he says.

    Carl Elliott would probably tell Mr. Parliament that he was fortunate. Mr. Elliott, a professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Bioethics and the Department of Pediatrics, is an outspoken critic of what is known among volunteers as “guinea pigging.”

    It was not always so. In a previous job at McGill University, Mr. Elliott served on an institutional review board, or IRB, which sought to ensure that the university’s research was being conducted ethically. Along the way he began reading Guinea Pig Zero, a Web zine written by and for people who make a living as itinerant test subjects, and it turned Mr. Elliott’s views upside down.

    “IRBs sort of labor under the delusion that people are volunteering for clinical trials because they somehow want to help science,” he says. “With Phase 1 drug trials, that is almost never the case.”

    Such trials are often conducted by contract research organizations, which use healthy volunteers to test the side effects of drugs for pharmaceutical companies.

    “With these you’re not trying to see if the drug works,” Mr. Elliott says. “You’re just trying to see how badly it will hurt people.”

    Certainly there are horror stories. A Phase 1 trial of the anti-inflammatory drug TBN1412, which had been safely tested on monkeys but not humans, scandalized the research world in 2006 when all six participants in a London study nearly died and were left with impaired immune systems after toxic molecules unexpectedly flooded their bodies.

    Of course, human-subjects research is closely scrutinized, and the vast majority of studies—which are vital to bringing drugs safely to market—proceed without complication.

    In 2008, Mr. Elliot examined the ethics of human-subjects research in an article for The New Yorker that described the indignities and potential health risks that professional guinea pigs endure in exchange for payments that researchers call “incentives” but which the test subjects view as salaries. One man was being paid $7,500 for a five-week residential drug study involving endoscopies. Other trials are far less lucrative. The volunteers Mr. Elliot quoted were savvy and articulate, something he says he regrets because it masked the truth that the majority of guinea pigs are desperate for the money.

    Trisha B. Phillips is an associate professor of philosophy at Mississippi State University who writes about research ethics. She says she is concerned that contract research organizations, commonly located in college towns, might exploit the altruism of test subjects by running studies on “me too” drugs. “When a drug is doing particularly well on the market,” she explains, “a competing pharmaceutical company will try to copy it.” Most test subjects believe the experiments are for the good of medical science and humanity, she says, not the stockholders. “The medical-research industry is ballooning, especially within the last 10 or 15 years.”

    Even so, Ms. Phillips is unmoved by the common arguments against body commodification. “So much of our body and so much of our essence of what makes us a person is already commodified anyway,” she says. “Our personalities are commodified, our minds are commodified, our labor, our talents, our skills.”

    Body-commodification concerns, she says, might really be misplaced concerns about risk. “Commodifying the inside of your body is perhaps more problematic because it’s riskier than commodifying your personality, your mind, or, in most cases, your labor or your looks or whatever.”

    A big problem that Ms. Phillips sees in human-subjects research is wage exploitation, even though few researchers would regard the financial incentives that are paid to test subjects as wages. “It may be a token of appreciation to you,” she says, “but to the college kid, the illegal immigrant, or the otherwise destitute person, this token of appreciation is the main reason they’re participating in that trial.”

    Writing in 2011 in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Ms. Phillips observed that while federal guidelines on human-subjects research allow payments to subjects, the rules provide no recommendations on how much. She pointed to a 2006 paper in the journal Pediatrics that found a compensation range of $7.50 to nearly $60 an hour for the same clinical trial conducted at three different sites.

    Ms. Phillips concluded by calling for federal regulations that would establish a standard payment formula to pay research subjects a “base wage equivalent to a living wage.”

    A year and a half ago, before G was selected as an egg donor, she signed on to test the potency of a painkiller at a lab in Austin. In exchange for $400, she agreed to have one of her wisdom teeth pulled and then spend the night in a testing facility. There was nothing wrong with the tooth, says G, who recalls the experience alternately as “pretty horrific” and “a pretty good deal.”

    “It was just local anesthesia,” she says, “so you could hear the drill in your tooth.” She cranked up the music on her headphones as loud as it would go, but it still couldn’t overcome the whine of the dental drill. That night she read, listened to music, and helped herself to pudding, applesauce, and Chef Boyardee ravioli. “It didn’t hurt at all right then, but afterward it hurt pretty bad,” she says.

    On the other hand, she says, for a fellow test subject who actually needed to have his wisdom teeth removed, the study “was a godsend.”

    G had fared better two years earlier, in a study of the side effects of an existing birth-control medication. She walked away with $500 and a year’s worth of birth control and medical checkups, which she appreciated, having recently lost her health insurance.

    As an egg donor, she found her medical care over the past few months even more attentive. She is excited that she was able to help a couple conceive a child but says she’s not thinking about the day when her genetic offspring will be an adult.

    “Right now I’m trying to decide what I’m going to be able to do over the next two to five years,” she says. “I think when I look back on this time now, I’m going to think, ‘Yeah, I sold myself to a bunch of companies. … But a lot of us are students in college, and I’m just trying to do what I can to make money. I really, really want to finish school and quit waiting tables.”

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  7. Nina says

    I work at the aforementioned gentlemen’s lounge.Tiffany was a nice girl,she did no hooking there.Octomom is a plastic surgery addict,obviously.I have never prostituted-in my life,in fact,I have not had a boyfriend in over a year,meaning no sex relations,so I’m offended to be labeled a hooker in a catch all.Think about it,’Karen’,why would a dancer girl strip,in 7in heels for eight hours on end,for not as much money as related in these articles,if she could make same or more $ turning a trick for less than 1/2 hour? Stripping at these places is grueling,physically hard labor,IMO.
    ‘Karen’ is prob a fat woman who can’t get a man to look at her,too bad.

  8. Trevor says

    I been to Ts Lounge and Wildwest–they just c–ktease in there,I never got any. I drive from Loxahatchee n I’ll go again.Lookin forward to $9 drinks & 3 for $30 dances!!

  9. Benjamin Franklin says

    Go to hell you strippers .Cause you aint gonna have a dollar from my hard earning paycheck.The strip club smelling like farte anyway.And damn strippers coming and wipe their a$$$ on my pants.

  10. im family says

    You know this article was suppose to be about a young woman violent and uncalled for death. I don’t care what lifestyle she was living she still deserves some respect. So does the family wno reads this bs. And you can’t always believe what u read. She was doing great and getting her life together. And yea she made mistakes she younb that what u do at 20. That’s what shapes you into the wonderful person you end up being. But she won’t have the chance to show the rest of the world her beauty and what she was truly capable of. And just cause she was a stripper don’t mean that y she was killed. It coukd have been a random psych that just happen to pass by. And her family loved this girl endlessly. Please respect the family and tiffany and remember her family sees this. Don’t turn the attention from her getting justice and closure.

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