Motel Discriminated Against Prostitute by Refusing Her Room: Tribunal

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I agree with Janelle Fawkes of the Australian Sex Worker’s Association who states that ‘Systemic Predjudice’ is most definitely at the core of all anti-discrimination cases throughout Queensland.  This huge win for GK and all sex workers, recently upheld in the Appeal by the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) was reported in the Brisbane Times on 8th August, 2012.  Sex workers everywhere will now be able to have their Anti-Discrimination Cases heard and be taken seriously.  It is no longer acceptable behaviour to refuse a sex worker accommodation and discriminate against them just because you don’t agree with their choice of work.

In this instance, common sense finally prevailed and GK won her appeal.  This case has huge ramifications for sex workers and their client’s as well as hoteliers and moteliers who will now have to re-think their discriminatory nature and join the 21st century!.  It’s about bloody time!  What peeves me the most, is how the owners of the Drover’s Rest Motel can casually state that they have no problem with ‘prostitutes’ working for a living but object if this work is being carried out on their premises.  If they object to sex work then they must also object to all other types of work that is conducted within the confines of a hotel room.  Sales people, accountants, police, anyone who uses the phone or internet or bed to conduct their legal and lawful business. Sex work is recognised as legitimate work.

The mind boggles as to how the owners ‘discovered’ she was working in the first place.  One would like to think that Australian’s are entitled to have some sort of privacy when they pay for a room and not have their comings and goings monitored by the proverbial nosey neighbour.  Obviously not in this case, but to then go ahead and ‘ban her’ as if they have some sort of moral obligation to do so, is downright offensive!  I have a sense that the owner’s are more than a little bit Ma & Pa Kettle-like.  I think they honestly believe they have the right to discriminate on some sort of moral high ground.  I think not and so does the Tribunal.  My advice to them is that they mind their own business and behave according to the laws of this land.  God knows we don’t need more rednecks running around!

Fingers crossed that this case will pave the way for other sex worker’s who have also been discriminated against and who have been waiting in the wings to finally see if GK’s human rights are being taken seriously.  It is blatant misrepresentation when Richard Munro states that “…hotel and motel owners must retain the right to refuse guests who might disturb the amenity…”.  There are already laws in place that are based on moral attitudes and prejudices validated by the Criminal Code, Chapter 22A which is designed to cover an act of deviance rather than a business.  However, the punishment must fit the crime.  In this case, the legal sex worker GK did not break the law, however the owners Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Mrs Joan Hartley of the Drover’s Rest Motel in Moranbah, clearly did!

Sex workers have been flocking to the front lines to work alongside miners for centuries.  This is not a new concept born out of a sudden influx of immoral sinner’s.  Gold mining pioneers couldn’t wait to get to the Gold fields in the hopes of striking it rich.  If you worked hard, the rewards came.  In this case, sex workers are booking flights and looking to cash up by providing a sex service.  Let’s face it, we all have needs, wants and desires that need attending to!  They are both booming industries, full of hard working men and women with money who choose to see equally hard working sex workers for a conversation, lunch/dinner, perhaps some erotic relaxation and/or sex.

Thank you GK for finding the strength to stand up to the system and fight for our collective rights.  I can only imagine the anxiety and stress that this must be causing you, your family, your business and every aspect of your life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You are one hell of a woman!  Jx

By Jodine
© Copyright, 2012,  All Rights Reserved

Sex Worker Wins Right to Work from Motel

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Hoo rah!  Put your hands in the air, there’s a party in the club tonight!  I seem to recall I told you all so in no uncertain terms that the legal sex worker GK would win her Appeal against Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Mrs Joan Hartley of the Drover’s Rest Motel in Moranbah, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on August 7th.  The  original  ludicrous Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decision was successfully overturned and brought in line with existing Queensland and Federal Law and recognised global best practice.

It had to happen.  Blatant discrimination on behalf of the learned member in the initial QCAT decision was an embarrassment to QCAT and the Anti-discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ) as well as to most Australian’s.  Shame on her!  The recent decision finding in favour of legal sex worker GK has shown that common sense does prevail but at what cost to GK and other sex workers who live with this kind of discrimination on a daily basis.  The case should never have gone this far.

Sex worker’s now have to wait a further 28 days for the right to appeal the appeal to expire.  How many countless other cases will never make it to the ADCQ’s attention for actual fear of the legal system that opts to make poor, corrupt decisions like the one we just witnessed.  Why would anyone want to put themselves through a process of unrelenting scrutiny at the hands of weak kneed, religious zealots, I suspect, who succumb to bullying tactics or their own bias world view in order to influence decisions at this level?

Many sex workers experience discrimination and don’t report due to barriers to access including internalised stigmatisation, fear of information being used for other purposes, fear of disclosure of personal information being provided to the perpetrator or media, lack of understanding of legislative coverage by sex workers, fear of retaliatory action by the perpetrator or others.  Perhaps we will soon see just how many pending cases have been waiting in the wings for this long awaited positive outcome that actually stands up for our human rights.

This case has become one of the most significant public landmark cases in Queensland’s anti-discrimination history.  Queensland is finally saying loud and clear that human rights violations will not be tolerated and no amount of bullying from fanatical Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) type politics will interfere with a fair and just process.  A far cry from the days of pandemic corruption Queenslander’s suffered under Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  This is a huge win for Queensland and legal sex workers Australia wide.

The Tribunal wrote an exemplary comprehensive legal explanation of their decision which systematically used appropriate law to back-up the true spirit and meaning of ‘lawful sexual activity’.  There are no obscure, grasping at straws findings here.  QCAT can feel pleased that they have successfully vindicated theselves and done so with huge integrity.  The case has now successfully been brought back into focus; it is illegal in the State of Queensland to discriminate against another person seeking accommodation just because they are a sex worker.

In fact the QCAT findings were so comprehensive that an appeal of the appeal seems highly unlikely.  However, I am well aware of the depth of ill-feeling within members of the moral police.  Sadly, I expect nothing less than more inappropriate bullying tactics and  political interference on this case.  It will be interesting to see just who these redneck players are, what power’s they think they wield and to just what lengths they are prepared to go to keep Queenslander’s in the Dark Ages.

In Queensland, sex workers have been accessing the ADCQ for over fifteen years in responding to the high levels of discrimination that are perpetrated against sex workers within the community.  Not all situations are covered by the Anti Discrimination Act but commentator’s have found that by having some degree of coverage, sex workers have a sense of justification to stand up for their rights.  However, most cases of discrimination go unreported alongside violent crimes being perpetrated against us from clients who understand their risks of being prosecuted are low.

Most cases of discrimination because of lawful sexual activities, are based on moral attitudes and predjudices which are validated by the Criminal Code, Chapter 22A which is designed to cover an act of deviance rather than a business.  With the introduction of the Prostitution Act 2000, the government recognised sex work as legitimate work but this has done little to improve the situation for sole traders.  Other forms of discrimination which have been addressed through the ADCQ have included;

  • Refusal to provide accommodation by real estates, lessors, etc
  • Eviction from rented premises both within the short and long term accommodation providers with or without refunds
  • Banking facilities such as eftpos, loans, insurance coverage not being provided
  • Insurance companies not providing coverage for life insurance or income protection.  As Workcover Qld still does not provide coverage to sex workers within brothels, these sex workers continue to be recognised as sole traders.
  • Schools refusing children of sex workers to be enrolled
  • Training providers refusing to acknowledge the skills and knowledge gained as a sex worker or refusing enrolment by ‘out’ sex workers
  • Churches and clubs refusing enrolment or membership
  • Community services refusing to provide assistance in particular homelessness services where evictions on discovery of status or activities outside of the housing provided occur regularly
  • Children’s community services disadvantaging sex workers families

I am convinced the ADCQ could provide a more comprehensive list of areas in which their legislation provides coverage.  Unfortunately it does not cover all forms of discrimination such as the predujudicial attitudes of Magistrates within the Family Law Courts within custody battles that are not covered either due to it being a federal jurisdiction.  I am ever hopeful that after this hugely important win, we might finally begin to see significant law changes emerging finally righting decades of wrongs.

But for now, I am basking in the glory that sex worker’s are finally being heard.  There is definitely a party in the house tonight!  Thank you GK for having the courage to do what many sex workers are afraid to do.  You have my continued, ongoing support.  There is no doubt that you will go down in whore-pride history!  Jx


Brothel Licensing Not The Answer

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I am ecstatic to see that Cate Faehrmann, MP for The Greens Party in New South Wales (NSW), has written an article in response to growing pressure in NSW to reverse the current decriminalised status of sex workers, in the wake of recent human trafficking and sex slavery media sensationalism.

In this article written on her blog, titled ‘Brothel Licensing Not The Answer’, dated November 1st, 2011, Faehrmann reminds lawmakers not to get caught up in the current frenzy and make knee-jerk decisions that do not take into account that the majority of legal sex workers are not caught up in this illegal activity.  The majority of sex workers perform their work safely and legitimately. Faehrmann cites evidential based research that shows decriminalisation is recognised as the world’s best practice standards for sex workers and their clients.

New Zealand has been leading the way since 2003, by completely decriminalising the sex industry in the Prostitution Reform Act.  When I worked in New Zealand, myself and my clients enjoyed knowing that we were both fully supported and protected in every way.  I knew that I could go to the Police if I was threatened or harmed and that the Police were also empowered to do everything they could to protect me and my human rights.  Clients knew it was going to be more difficult to get away with crimes against sex workers.  I felt that I could help the Police in their pursuit of fighting crime by sharing information.

In the sex industry, we call clients who perpetrate crime against us, as Ugly Mugs.  We have a vast database of information relating to actual Ugly Mugs.  I am convinced that police in Australia would like to be privy to this information in the same way that the New Zealand Police are, in order to assist them in current investigations and prosecutions. Remember that we share societies concerns about illegal trafficking and sex slavery.  We don’t want to be exploited, used and abused.

I also knew that I could walk in to any sex worker organisation, sexual health clinic, general practitioner’s rooms or hospital and I didn’t have to lie about being a sex worker.  I could share accurate information about my identity without fear of being discriminated against.  I knew my privacy was going to be protected like everyone else’s.  They knew that they had all the relevant information to be fully informed about my health and safety in order to treat me appropriately.  I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be reported to Police or have my identity exposed because I was a sex worker.

Decriminalisation means that sex workers have human rights to enable them to access a range of services and be treated with dignity and respect.  The real evidence of success is in the reported decrease in sexually transmitted infections in New Zealand and NSW amongst sex workers since decriminalisation began.  Why would anyone in there right mind want to reverse this?  Sex workers are not the ones spreading sexually transmittable diseases in our communities.  It is also not only our our young people that need to be educated about using condoms.

The public forgets that there are older generations that didn’t use condoms in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who are also affecting the increase of sexually transmitted diseases today.  These are the people who are regularly asking sex workers if they do Natural (without a condom) services.  Education is the key and by increasing public awareness we are better able to make more informed decisions about sexual health.  Targeting sex workers is barking up the wrong tree!

Faehrmann also talks about how the current licensing scheme regulating brothels in Queensland, namely the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA), does not address 90% of the sex industry, which is “…unregulated and illegal” (1).  While it is true that licensing does not address 90% of the industry we can not be sure what percentage of that is ‘illegal’.  Sole traders in Queensland are also heavily regulated.

The problem in Queensland is that most of the strategies that sex workers use to maintain their safety and sanity, like working in co-operatives, having a driver, debriefing with another sex worker in your workplace for example, becomes ‘illegal’ because of bad, poorly processed laws.   But even in a place like NSW where you have decriminalisation, people still revert back to the legal vs illegal dichotomy – so brothel owners who hate the competition argue that brothels that don’t have proper council planning permits are ‘illegal’.

Coming from New Zealand where the sex industry is decriminalised, and into Queensland, Australia, where it is not and is inappropriately regulated, I can see how glaringly obvious flaws in the current regulations actually increase the risk of human trafficking and sex slavery.  We are not protected from organised crime just because some sex workers choose (or not) to work from a brothel.  As a private independent lawful sex worker, I am faced with heavy regulation that isolates me from society and puts me and my colleagues directly at risk of being exploited.

Police officers are also legally allowed to practise entrapment in Queensland, pretend to be clients, pressure sex workers to have sex without a condom and then charge us even though we are being bullied into providing a service we wouldn’t normally provide!  This has recently been passed into law as Clause 101 which refers to Section 77A1, (3) (a) of the Prostitution Act Qld 1999, despite lobbying and sound evidence against why this is inappropriate.  Police are our clients too.  Police can, however, have sex with a sex worker and then charge us as a citizen, after the fact, if they feel so inclined.  It is still illegal, however, for clients to ask for sex without a condom.  How ridiculous is this?

Personally, I am also not allowed to have a ‘meeting of the minds’ with another sex worker in my apartment.  I am in effect, not allowed to have a friend who is also a sex worker, over for a coffee without the risk of being busted in a raid and accused of running an illegal brothel.  I was recently wrongly accused of running an escort agency from my leased apartment by my real estate agent although this is, was and will never be the case.  I am not allowed to adequately protect myself because I am forced into isolation and denied access to my basic human rights and natural justice.  I am not allowed to let anyone know where I am going if I am doing an out-call unless the person is a licensed body guard or a non sex worker.

How realistic is it to expect every sole trader to hire a body guard?  How many non-sex workers do you think volunteer to be on call and who have an understanding of the risks, nature and scope of the work we do?  It is like asking a cleaner to supervise a social worker.  The only people who should be watching my back are other sex workers and maybe their husbands, wives, partners, friends and family.

In conclusion, decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way to move forward on the issue of human trafficking, sex slavery and violent crime against sex workers in Australia.  It is the only accepted course of action that the United Nations advocates globally because it recognises the overall positive impact on human rights, health and safety and addresses issues of harm minimisation in the area of disease prevention, violence and illegal activity.  I agree with Faehrmann in her article, who says “…the government should be looking at ways to address the sometimes arbitrary and inconsistent implementation of existing sex industry guidelines across local government, rather than making criminals out of currently law abiding citizens.”

New Zealand is leading the way and has screeds of research that shows that decriminalisation is working and having a positive impact on these area’s.  New South Wales is also being heralded as taking a positive stand with its current decriminalisation recording unprecedented new statistics showing 99% compliance by sex workers using condoms, directly reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections amongst sex workers compared to other groups in the community.  Wake up and smell the roses!  You will be seen as being fickle and weak-kneed by the rest of the world if you back-track and decide to fly in the face of a globally sound and well researched argument.

I am proud to be a sex worker.  I provide an outstanding service delivery in the face of stigma, heavy regulation and discrimination.  I am proud to be associated with organisations like RESPECT Inc and Scarlet Alliance, who are passionate about their collective aims and objectives to improve the lives of sex workers and address issues of human rights and public health and safety.  We are the experts in our field and are therefore informed about what the actual issues are.  I am also proud of Cate Faehrmann for bringing a political voice of reason outside of the sex industry, that challenges the media driven, sensationalised debate currently snowballing out of control in Australia.  Jx

© Copyright, 2011,  All Rights Reserved


1.   A Schloenhardt & Human Trafficking Working Group, Happy Birthday Brothels: Ten Years of Prostitution Regulation in Queensland, (2009).