Sex Work & Disability in Australia

Health

Rachel Wotton from Touching Base and John, star in Scarlet Road, a documentary about Sex Work and Disability

Sex, is a basic human desire that we all want to experience in our lives and this includes those of us living with disability. I am a sex worker here in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia and I work with those living with a wide range of disabilities, as well as my own. Today, I am grateful I am only contending with frozen shoulders and progressive nerve pain which, in the grand scheme of things could be a lot worse.

I am mindful of my pain when I’m working with clients. Obviously I don’t do anything that is going to exacerbate my pain. On the whole, it doesn’t really affect the quality of my performance as a sex worker, but rather enhances my compassion and ability to adapt to working in different ways in order to achieve the same results. Most of us have experienced at least some sort of pain and disability at different times in our lives. It does not mean we are any less desiring or capable of performing or having sexual pleasure and release. Quite the contrary. Those feel-good feelings of pleasure offer a much needed reprieve from pain, even for just a moment. Relief doesn’t necessarily mean having a physical ejaculation either. The mind is a most wonderful place to visit. Most of the people I see have no idea I live with pain and for those who do, we share a common understanding that only deepens our experience. I am not alone.

At the moment, New South Wales is the only state or territory that has a decriminalised framework but it is not completely decriminalised. Decriminalisation is being fought for in Queensland right now. Respect Inc, Queensland’s sex worker organisation, is challenging the Qld Government to replace existing sex work legislation with complete decriminalisation. Queensland can learn from New Zealand and New South Wales’ history of decriminalisation, and improve on the legislation in those places. Northern Territory and South Australia governments are also considering decriminalisation of sex work. This will mean more opportunities for clients with disability to have access to sex work providers.

In 2016, I did a sex work disability workshop with Rachel Wotton who delivered the Touching Base, Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) at Respect Inc’s office here in Cairns. It was invaluable training and I recommend you check out their website and watch the Scarlet Road documentary featuring Rachel Wotton, a co-founder of Touching Base. Scarlet Road offers an opportunity to take a sneak peek inside the sex industry and see how sex workers work with clients with disability. Resources are available for sex workers, clients, their families, educators and caregivers working for and in the Aged Care and Disability Services. Yes of course! Our elderly have sexual desires too and also experience difficulties. It is imperative that we champion decriminalisation of the sex industry and raise public and professional awareness of the issues surrounding access to and provision of sex industry services for people living with disability.

For myself personally, living and working with pain in the sex industry has meant that I have had to expand my awareness of myself and others, in the context of self care and in providing sex work services to my clients with disability. In this regard, the main learning curve has been in communication. Learning to ask the right questions, listening to the needs of specific clients and adapting my services to suit. Not everybody wants or needs the active, energetic, stereotypical role sex workers may be perceived to provide. An intellectual, sensual, visual sexual escapade can ignite all of the senses equally and this can only mean a delightfully erotic time for all to enjoy, comfortably. I am mindful of my authenticity when I sex work. My presence and state of mind is vital in working with any client, disabled, elderly or not. Matching my specific services to a client’s desires and abilities is also imperative. Many people with disability are quite capable of enjoying sexual intercourse. Relationships are built on trust and reciprocity and for me to work well, I need to be able to relate to myself and others in a holistic way.

In closing, having sex is a fundamental human right and one that does not discriminate between able bodied, disabled or aged clients with clients of all abilities or ages. We all have the right to seek out and have sexual relations with consenting adults including sex workers especially when our physical, mental or intellectual circumstances may make this difficult to obtain in other social ways such as dating or meeting in work situations. Decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way forward for all of us. In the modern world where sex sells everything from a toothbrush to a bar of soap, the only real barriers to a sexually fulfilling life, are other people’s ignorance that sexuality has a shelf life. This is far from the truth. Don’t be one of those critics who views sex as a means to an end for procreation. That would be a travesty of sexual justice.

At the end of the day, it isn’t that hard to imagine what life might be like for us when old age creeps up or we find ourselves disabled. We live in an aging population and the chances are, we may be old and horny, bent and broken and seriously sexually frustrated, unless we take steps to actively assert our sexual rights. Some clients may simply want to just get off, while others might want general affections and touch. Many others may grow older and not want to be sexual at all any more. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world that see’s sex and sexuality as a virtue and not something only available to the young or able-bodied. When decriminalisation comes in, in Queensland we will all be one step closer to creating this reality. In the meantime, do whatever it takes to have your sexual needs met. There are plenty of us sex workers out there who are more than willing to offer our services in a friendly, respectful way. Get online and see who is out there, and never look back! Jx

 

© Copyright 2019, Jezabel, escortjezabel.com. All Rights Reserved

 

Coalition of disability groups demand action on NDIS funding for sex services

 

Scarlet Road Trailer

 

REFERENCES:

https://www.touchingbase.org/

https://respectqld.org.au/

http://www.scarletroad.com.au/trailer/

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/all/medicinal-cannabis/access

 

Respect Inc Queensland

 

 

The Peters & the Pauls: The Fight for Sex Work Decriminalisation in Queensland

Political Lobbying
Whore

Scarlet Alliance Red Umbrella protest on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide 2016 

Decriminalisation is being fought for in Queensland right now, with a symposium in Parliament next week, 21st August. Respect Inc, Queensland’s sex worker organisation, is challenging government to replace existing sex work legislation, with complete decriminalisation of the sex industry as we know it in Queensland. I am absolutely ecstatic about this! As a sex worker who has worked in Queensland on and off over the past eight years, decriminalisation will impact me and my colleagues in an extremely positive way.

The current regulation of sex workers in Queensland is fraught with problems and dangers. Queensland can learn from New Zealand and New South Wales history of
decriminalisation, and improve on the legislation in those places. Northern Territory and South Australia governments are also considering decriminalisation of sex work. The lives of sex workers will not only be safer, we will have legal rights and recourse to address violence in the workplace, discrimination at the borders, discrimination in the real estate rental industry, health, banking and insurance industries and in the employment sector, in the same way that every other citizen enjoys.

Firstly, at the moment we are heavily regulated by police. This makes it extremely unlikely that sex workers will contact the police if they are abused, stalked, harrassed or threatened in the context of their work. We run the risk of being arrested ourselves, our immigration status potentially affected, our identity exposed and our choice of employment permanently placed in police and health records like a keloid scar that never heals. In the meantime, real criminals go unpunished and continue to target vulnerable sex workers in society. Police and government organisations can not adequately serve to protect us and then dob us in and prosecute us with their next breathe. This is a travesty of justice.

Early in the life of the current Queensland laws, Queensland police sought and had passed, an Amendment Bill (2011) to insert Clause 101 into the current legislation, which allowed police to continue to practice entrapment and ask sex workers for Natural (without a condom) sex services, in a supposed attempt to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s). A wholly dubious practice that has been largely shunned by almost all democratic countries in the developed world! Entrapment deliberately sets a person up to break the law where they would not normally do so. Police actually have the power to pretend to be clients, go through with services and then charge a sex worker. How inappropriate is that! Conditions can be manipulated in order to justify an arrest.

Entrapment laws tend to only target our young people, street workers and migrant sex workers the most. Our most vulnerable. Sex workers who may be naiive, mentally challenged, itinerant or not so great at speaking or understanding English and whom are unfamiliar with the current laws. I consider myself an educated woman and even I have difficulty complying with the current laws around sex work.

It is not sex workers who are the cause of Australia’s burgeoning sexually transmitted infection (STI) statistics either. It is the general public, people who hold antiquated beliefs about wearing or carrying condoms and our young people who enter into the world of nightclubs and bars, become intoxicated and go on to have impromptu unprotected sex. I take full responsibility for providing safer sex practices as do my colleagues and as a result we have less risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease than the general public. Sex workers have been at the forefront of STI best practice for at least the last thirty years and safe sex is the industry standard.

Similarly in New Zealand, sex workers are taking “all reasonable steps to ensure a prophylactic sheath (condom) or other appropriate barrier is used” (Prostitution Reform Act 2003 cited in NZPC website). Perhaps a humourous state-wide advertising programme could be implemented to educate people on the risks of unsafe sex, targeting youth in order to reduce the stigma of using condoms and increase awareness? Perhaps government funded, free condom vending machines in every bar would be more cost effective? After all, 99% of sex workers comply with safe sex practices (Donovan, Harcourt, Egger, Fairley, 2010). 

Under the current regulatory framework, it is illegal for me to work or associate with another sex worker. This means that I am not able to let a colleague know where I am if I’m doing an outcall, what time and for how long the booking is or when I will be expected back home. I can be arrested for attempting to keep myself safe. I am not allowed to share accommodation with another sex worker to minimise costs or have anyone else on the premises while I work. This is considered to be running a brothel. I am not allowed to ask a colleague to work with me when a client requests two sex workers during the booking. This is considered to be procurement. Clients have to source additional sex workers themselves. How ridiculous!

Presently, different Australian states have different degree’s of decriminalisation and regulation and it is an absolute nightmare for touring sex workers who frequently travel interstate. New South Wales is the the only state where decriminalisation exists in Australia. Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are all expected to follow suit. In Queensland, sex workers do not need to be registered if they are working as independents, however are required to undergo mandatory testing if they are working from a brothel.  Brothel’s are completely illegal in Tasmania with no sign of decriminalisation on the horizon, although local law enforcement and the media continue to turn a blind eye to the numerous advertisements that are in the local papers and online. The double standards are very real. Private sex workers working alone or in pairs is decriminalised in Tasmania.

Secondly, we are monitored by the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA) whom serve as a kind of watchdog for anything to do with our advertising platforms. We are heavily regulated in what we can say about our services and what sort of images we promote. For example, we are unable to show our nipples or genitals or any images of ourselves. They only recently started to let us depict BDSM practices such as whips, canes and paddles. The problem of regulating, is that you only have to type in ‘sex’ on the internet and your browser will show a million different sites and services showing naked, pornographic images and acts. It is an impossible task. I am reminded of the days of the Truth, where the page three girls were often depicted semi naked, bearing their breasts for all those readers to see. We still have public titty bars in operation in Queensland which provides some free eye candy for our hardworking tradies.

Obviously, there are many double standards with monitoring these sorts of things and in my mind, the PLA is nothing more than a paper-shuffling organisation set up to appease right wing christian lobbyists influencing government, like the Australian Christian Lobby. Religion has no place in government! There are too many Peter’s and Paul’s and I am the wrong kind of Mary. I don’t want to see any more public and political attacks on sex workers just because we are an affront to their conflated moral’s and beliefs! Remember GK and her eviction from Ma and Pa Kettle’s motel in Moranbah? The then Queensland Attorney-General Mr Jarrod Bleijie, began a successful smear campaign to change the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to allow legal discrimination to occur in Queensland. Sex workers across Australia have had enough! We don’t want any more exploitation for politicial gain (often accompanied with dodgy donations) to keep the dangerous status quo! More athiests exist in Australia than God fearing citizens and so the time has come for the rights and lives of sex workers to be respected.

Thirdly, I want to be able to enjoy the freedom of being able to work safely in the sex industry in Queensland without fear of persecution. As with any marginalised group, I live with stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. Lyon asserts that health outcomes of sex workers are directly affected by stigmatisation and marginalisation and that “It is described as the single biggest issue facing sex workers – even those who operate legally” (Lyon, 2011: 2.3.1, 45). I am at risk of being blackmailed, harrassed, stalked, threatened and outed by police, real estate agents, employers, disgruntled ex partners/husbands, friends, family and even from my own colleagues, whom for a variety of reasons choose to act or react with ignorance and a sense of entitlement that justifies their violence. Violence comes in many different guises.

My own personal story involves an ex husband who rang my landlord and outed me, just because I was leaving him and his abuse, only for him to attack my only source of income and ruin my career. I was left penniless, unable to access Centrelink because I am a Kiwi who came to Australia post 911 and when significant political changes to immigration laws occurred in 2001 (New Zealanders are now considered Permanent Temporary Residents), which meant I had no access to financial support when I fell on hard times. I am not alone in wanting to create the life I choose in the sex industry. I have hopes, dreams and aspirations and I hope to one day become a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand. Sex workers are everywhere in society, and most of the time you don’t even know we’re there because we are so discreet.

Lastly to recap, licensing slash regulation of the sex industry in Queensland, has not worked. Licensing, as opposed to decriminalisation, makes illegal operations more attractive because the legal sector is often kept smaller than the number of sex workers available to work (Lyon, 2011:10). This kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it? Current licensing has created an impossible framework for sex workers to work within and one that often sets us up to fail by having to break laws in order to survive and work safely. Research by Respect Inc found that the mental health issues were rife in licensed brothels due to bad working conditions. Decriminalisation is a vital part of addressing the stress, bad work conditions, rights and welfare of all sex workers in Queensland.

It has been 30 years since the 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry exposed the heinous corruption, extortion and exploitation of sex workers by Police that was occurring during the Joe Bjelke-Peterson days. In response, the Prostitution Act 1999 (Qld) introduced a brothel licensing system, but left the 1899 Criminal Code unchanged. Sadly, 80% of sex workers continue to be subject to police regulation and monitoring as a result. Essentially, we are seen as second class citizens in the state of Queensland, deemed unworthy of receiving even the most basic human rights and protections that our friends, family and communities are afforded. It is about time that numerous evidence-based research in favour of decriminalisation, is taken seriously and fully implemented by our Queensland government representatives.

Decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way forward and is championed by many international human rights groups including the United Nations. Since the UN made a press release advocating for complete decriminalisation of the sex industry worldwide, we have witnessed several countries, their sex workers and supporters, collectively rise up in the hope that they will see history in the making. We are watching activists and governments work side by side to raise awareness for others and pave the way for the removal of harmful Draconian laws. Activists and governments are working tirelessly to navigate their way down this path to freedom not only for sex workers but for the community as a whole. Decriminalisation will bring about so many positive changes for sex workers, that our voices will finally have been heard and included in a modern society.

The benefits of decriminalisation far outweigh anything that we have seen to date. Police will finally be able to focus on real crime and stop wasting taxpayer money chasing after ghosts. 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 (UNAIDS, 2009).

There is nothing wrong with offering or paying for sex services by consenting adults. I think there has been a general taboo about talking about or doing anything sexual for far too long. Slut shaming is a very real thing and begins from an early age. There is still time to make a difference and jump on the second wave of the sexual revolution bandwagon and advocate for complete decriminalisation for sex workers in Queensland. Lobby your local MP’s, write emails and letters in support even if you aren’t a provider, just because it’s the right thing to do. Let your friends and family know that you are in support of sex worker rights and tell them why. All we want is a safer work place, the ability to ask for help and to receive support when it is needed. A win/win for everyone in my book! 

 

© Copyright 2019, Jezabel, escortjezabel.com. All Rights Reserved

 

Published by the AIM Network 21st August 2019

 

Decrim Qld on Twitter: "Huge thanks to everyone for ...

 

REFERENCES 

Criminal Code (Qld) 1899

The 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry

The Prostitution Act (Qld) 1999

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Law Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers: Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee. Christchurch: Otago University

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2009). The impact of decriminalisation on the number of sex workers in New Zealand. Journal of Social Policy 38(3) 515-31, 526, 528.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, C Fairley,  (2010), ‘Improving the Health of Sex Workers in NSW: Maintaining Success’, NSW Public Health Bulletin 21(3-4) 74–7.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, L Watchirs Smith, K Schneider, JM Kaldor, MY Chen, CK Fairley, S Tabrizi, The Sex Industry in New South Wales: A Report to the NSW Government, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2012,http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/hiv.cms.med.unsw.edu.au/files/hiv/attachment/NSWSexIndustryReportV4.pdf. |

Bennachie, C. (2010).  Decriminalising Sex Work in New Zealand – What it means to sex workers.  Paper presented at the International AIDS Conference, Vienna, July 2010.

Christine Harcourt, S Egger, B Donovan (2005), ‘Sex Work and the Law’, Sexual Heath 2(3) 121–8.

Christine Harcourt, J O’Connor, S Egger, C Fairly, H Wand, M Chen, L Marshall, J Kaldor, B Donovan, (2010), ‘The Decriminalisation of Prostitution is Associated with Better Coverage of Health Promotion Programs for Sex Workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 34:5 at 482.

http://www.pla.qld.gov.au/

http://www.cdc.gov/std/health-disparities/age.htm

http://www.respectqld.org.au/

Lyon, W., (2011). Prohibitory Prostitution Laws and the Human Right to Health, Research Dissertation presented for partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of LLM in International Human Rights Law (Nottingham Trent University/HETAC), Law School, Griffith college, Dublin. pg 10

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

https://respectqld.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Regulating-Bodies-BWNA-2017.pdf.

O’Connor, C., Berry, G., Rohrsheim, R. and Donovan, B. (1996), ‘Sexual health and use of condoms among local and international sex workers in Sydney’, Genitourinary Medicine, 72: 1, 47–51.

QCAT,   GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd & Anor (No 3)  [2011] QCAT 509 (10/ADL134) Brisb Ann Fitzpatrick, Member 25/10/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/509

QCAT, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor (No 2)  [2011] QCAT 445 (10/ADL134) Brisb C Endicott, Senior Member 15/09/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/445

QCATA, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor  [2012] QCATA 128 (11/APL416) Brisb PJ Roney SC, Presiding Member Dr B Cullen, Member 31/07/2012  [available at:
http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2012/QCATA/128

http://www.respectqld.org.au

UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, Geneva, 2009, http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2009/JC2306_UNAIDS-guidance-note-HIV-sex-work_en.pdf.

 

Sexy Cairns & Port Douglas Adventures

Reflections of Bohemia

Sexy Cairns Escort

 

Hi all you sexy far north Queensland local’s and visitor’s! I am now available in Cairns and Port Douglas permanently. I have set up a beautiful, luxurious apartment in the Cairns CBD to share with you. I also offer a Deluxe Holiday Stay package to those desiring exclusivity, at a very reasonable fee.

I am available for short or long term sightseeing excursions as well as lunch or dinner dates. My favourite restaurants are Ochre, Coco’s, Mondo’s and the Port Douglas Yacht Club.

I see discerning ladies, gentlemen and couples who desire some additional fun, passion and humour in the boudoir. I am sometimes available for dessert at short notice, but advanced bookings would be preferred!

Mention that you read this introductory escort diary and receive an additional half an hour. I hope you are enjoying your day or night in the tropical far north and I hope to see you very soon. Jx

Tinders Cora Pearl

Poetry

Tinder dating.

Balancing on that tight rope between modern meat markets, vintage marriage proposals and a continuum of taffeta excuses for those with no idea about couture.

Coffee date number two,

torn between a Trelise Trelise Cooper bustle or Collette Dinnigan trousers, opting for mid length K-mart culottes and flat shoes – quite sensible really.

Then he makes a move, casually stroking her genius arm while he takes a business call leaning back on his wing.

It’s an affront to Cora’s touch-starved senses; Georgette raised speed bumps, bristle with expectations.

Its awkward for a moment –

deciding weather to pirouette or sashay onto the dancefloor with some spurious home truths.

Ta da!

‘I used to be a sex worker’,

she crowed, sipping on a nonchalant eyelash latte on the verge of treason

‘and if I decide to go back, you can’t stop me’.

Silence.

Ms Pearl takes another sip, the onslaught of ignorance threatening to tighten her whale bone corset breath, now held in contempt.

A standing ovation or white knuckled finale taking the bias edge out of contention, taking it all in.

See, she can’t see the point of another round of ruffles and rouge.

/

Spontaneous attraction hides in the shadows

of a cloak and dagger past life, frightened

by a mere unorthodox interlude.

 

 

© Copyright 2019, Jezabel Cairns ‘escortjezabel.com’. All Rights Reserved

Visable Woman

Poetry

Escorts Jezabel

 

I’m a whore.
A hooker for all
Intents & purposes

I fuck

Men, women or both
If they show me
Respect & pay my fee

How they treat
Me is how I screen;
They peep through key
Holes in my web,
Mobile phone or face
Book

Leave me clues
I peruse at my leisure.

On my unpaid time,
Weeding
Always pulling
Out roots & bare
Back, barking mad
Messages

Cutting into my family!

My family time
Intrigues you & yours –

Watching how we
Balance on that edge,
While I swing my leg
Over, hold on
Tight & tiptoe
Around the giant
Dildo in the room

But we do

Those Bill’s
Just don’t stop coming!

*

I work hard for the money
I work hard for family
I work hard
Pulling my weight where it counts
To make ends meet;
Reconciling differences
Underneath

I bleed red & my shit still
Stinks but that doesn’t make me
Invisible, unless you’re
Anti

Anti this, anti that
Why should it matter
What I do to support my
Self or my family?

I should ram my fist right up
Your arse, to my elbows
(I’d like to – bend you over) &
Piss all over your pride & prejudice!

Your mind is already made up.
Stuck up, to the eyeballs
In condescending lies pandering
To (un) popular beliefs;
Nothing like countering ‘prostitution
Narratives’ in the belly
Of the beast

I am a very tall poppy.
I am not so uneloquently on display
I am not a victim
I am not coerced
I am not a survivor
I am not damaged
I am not suffering any
More than anyone else

I don’t buy into
Negative, stereotypically ignorant
Profit driven victimisation
Either!

I choose to be the
Architect of my own life
Doing my bit,
Arousing your awareness
So that those who are
Tarred with the same brush
Can find support
Not rescue

It’s called autonomy.
Something I have more of than
Some, but you are not one

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up
Turn on my phone
Answer messages
Boil the jug & light up a dart,
Considering all my options
Before heading back in to sex work

It makes me stark raving
Mad, to think you could
Possibly be offended!

*

For what it’s worth,
I feel sorry for you

© Copyright 2016, Jezabel Jodine. ‘escortjezabel.com. All Rights Reserved

 

Written in protest of the ‘World’s Oldest Oppression’ Conference in Melbourne, Victoria 2016

The Online Protest

Pieces of Meat

Sound of Silencing Sex Workers

Online Pocket Guide to Dealing with Antis

Sex Work & Violence

About Sex Work, Sex Work & Violence

pink1

On Sunday night, the 17th of February 2013, I got a distressed call from a young sex worker in Cairns.  For the purpose of this Blog her name shall be Gemma.

Gemma had taken an enquiry from a man calling himself Will.  He seemed warm, polite and friendly.  They agreed on a price, time and place for a 1 hour outcall at an upmarket hotel in Cairns along the Esplanade.  She took her time getting ready, making the effort to look and feel her best.  She chose light make-up, a lovely but casual dress and 3 inch heels.  Her supplies of condoms and lube were tucked away in an evening bag.  She headed out the door…

Gemma arrived on time and made her way up to the third floor.  A well dressed man in his late 20’s, early 30’s opened the door, smiled and let her in.  She looked around the room and noticed empty beer bottles and pizza boxes.  She made the comment “Oh is this your bachelor pad?” laughing and gesturing toward the mess in a friendly manner to break the ice.  He laughed and said “something like that”.  Then another male of around the same age came out of a side room.  Then another and another and another.  Five in total were in the room and making smiles and lewd gestures toward her.

Gemma asked to speak with Will, looking at the guy who opened the door for her.  He replied that Will wasn’t there, that they had borrowed his phone and that they wanted to ‘party’ with her.  Right about now she realised she was in her worst nightmare.  She stated firmly and calmly that she had made an hour booking with Will and that there was no mention of anyone else being involved.  They offered her more money and encouraged her to sit down.  Gemma declined.  One of them pushed a chair in behind her knee’s to force her to sit down but she remained standing.  They had been drinking.

By this time Gemma is trying to reposition herself away from the men crowding around her, to move closer to the door.  As she was trying to extricate herself, repeatedly stating that she was not going ahead with the booking, one of the five stated “Prostitution is illegal in Australia and you have to fuck us!”.  Another started yelling at her “get in the fucking bedroom!”.  She managed to manoeuvre herself in to the kitchen before making a dash for the exit, deliberately knocking everything she could off the kitchen bench onto the floor.  She made it out of the door and down to reception. shaken and in shock.  She phoned her boyfriend who came over immediately to pick her up outside the hotel.  He told reception what Gemma had told him.

Gemma is a 24 year old woman.  She lives alone with her pet dog and Goldfish.  She has a boyfriend whom works away for a couple of weeks at a time and who is supportive of her choice of work in the interim.  They both have goals and aspirations for their future together.

Like a lot of sex workers, Gemma entered into the sex industry to ease social and economic pressures.  A cash income meant she could begin to create an independent life for herself and pool her resources into savings, learning and up-skilling, ultimately to improve her chances of competing in a modern society.  A global financial crisis resulting in fewer job opportunities, and tighter budget constraints combined with poor leadership and cowardly politicians like Queensland’s Attorney-General, Honourable? Jarrad Bleijie and Mr Premier Campbell-Newman pissing all over human rights, targeting our most vulnerable in society, leaves little hope for our young people to see any kind of future.

This scenario could have been much worse.  Gemma was a very lucky young woman to have escaped from those lowlife scum who dared to call themselves men.  Could her risk be lowered?  You bet; yet under current Queensland law it is still illegal for two sex workers to work together to provide back up to each other and this immediately increases the risk of further abuses being perpetrated against us.  Who is more aware of our particular safety needs than another sex worker?  In my mind, current regulation is actually perpetrating gross negligence and causing undue harm which violates our basic human rights.

Queensland law does actually allow sex workers to hire a fully qualified bodyguard slash driver whenever we feel there is a need.  But lets face it, could Gemma have foreseen what was planned for her that night?  The answer is NO.  However, when isn’t there a potential risk for sex workers when we have a government that doesn’t support their basic human rights in general and a public who knows this and an element of depravity in some people who will continue to be violent by nature?  In Gemma’s case it is unrealistic to expect her to hire a bodyguard slash driver to serve as a chaperone on every single job, she accepts.  The cost alone puts this service way out of reach for most sex workers.  Where is this fictitious pool of bodyguard slash drivers on standby 24/7?

What about the Police? Gemma chose not to report this incident. That is her right.  When I asked her what made her think twice, she said she rang them anonymously and they couldn’t do anything unless she made a statement.  She didn’t want to make a statement.  She wanted the Police to go around and scare them to make them at least think twice about doing it again to another unsuspecting sex worker. This was not to be.  She could not see that making a statement to Police would enable them to visit the men and force them to at least tell their side of the story.  The only thing she could see, was that nothing would happen to them and she would become a known sex worker to Police.  This made her feel uncomfortable.  Sad isn’t it.

I referred Gemma to her local sex worker organisation for support immediately after the incident.  Respect Inc have drop in and outreach centres on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Townsville (Head Office) and Cairns.  She was able to debrief over the phone with a peer in Cairns, was given information about her rights and the opportunity to have the respect Peer Educator with her if she chose to make a statement with Police.  What an invaluable service! Severely under resourced and very lucky to have escaped the heinous community funding cuts that surged though Queensland last year like a fiscal enema.

What happened to Gemma could happen to any one of us at any time.  It has happened to a lot of us.  Is this a deterrent?  No it is not.  We cling to what little support we have within society and lean on each other and pick up the pieces and move on with our lives – and continue to sex work.  Men, women and transgender alike have been making the best of difficult situations for centuries.  Sex work is not a new phenomenon.  It is known as the oldest profession in the world for damn good reason!  Historically, it was not always an illegal or heavily regulated profession either.

Australia needs to make a National change uniting the States and follow in the huge footsteps of New South Wales and New Zealand who lead the way with complete Decriminalisation of the sex industry.  Draconian laws and heavy-handed, often purely misguided moralistic regulations do nothing but make the lives of sex workers fraught with danger, ripe for exploitation and reek of political potato chips.  How many more stories like Gemma’s do you have to hear before you realise that she is a person just like yourself, with a family and friends, neighbours, work colleagues and a guy that comes around to mow the lawn every 2nd Wednesday. A person who deserves to have laws in place to protect her human rights to live and work free from harrassment.

Why is Federal Australia still turning a blind eye to screeds of evidence-based research stating how decriminalising sex work removes so much unwanted paper work for bureaucrats, free’s up resources for Police to actually focus on real crimes, empowers people to make better choices, makes would be criminals think twice, and more importantly begins to improves negative stigma and discrimination which in turn raises self esteem and a feeling of belonging in society for a vulnerable minority group?  Perhaps we need to invest our hard earned tax payer dollars into buying a pair of thick lens glasses so that each and every Member of Parliament can begin to read the not so small print in front of them.

Finally, I have one last statement to make.  Sex workers are here to stay.  Sex workers are uniting and growing stronger every single day.  Sex workers will not tolerate abuse of any kind.  There should be ZERO TOLERANCE against violence full stop!  To those of you who are foolish enough to try to hurt or belittle us, remember we are watching you with eye’s in the back of our heads.  We are becoming organised and united.  These men were exposed to the hotel reception staff who also took great offence and I have no doubt they would have been uncomfortable attempting to explain it away.  Be prepared to be questioned, stood up to, refused, denied and exposed as the low-life scourge of society that you are.  We are the majority.  You are merely that 1% of the population that resembles a sharp prick we encounter occasionally when pulling out the weeds.

 

Jx

Published by the Aim Network

Published by Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)

 

Stop Legal Discrimination in Australia

Political Lobbying

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

The Queensland Attorney-General, Mr Jarrod Bleijie has successfully campaigned to change the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to allow legal discrimination to occur in Queensland.  Section 106C was passed to specifically target sex workers in the area of accommodation.  It effectively removes the ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’ part of the Act which has protected sex workers from discrimination by hoteliers/moteliers, landlords and body corporates to date.  Our basic human right to live and work in peace, free from harassment and vilification have been compromised.

Supporting ‘legal’ discrimination is an oxymoron and against the United Nations ‘Universal Human Rights Constitution’.  The Prostitution Act 2000 made sex work legitimate work within Queensland and sex workers are protected under the provision of ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’. Despite other area’s of law which currently still protect hoteliers/moteliers, landlord’s and Body Corporates from noisy guests, legal discrimination puts sex workers, their partners, children, friends and family directly into danger and at risk of abuse and corruption all over Australia.

On 21 November 2012, the Senate referred Exposure Draft legislation for the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 (Exposure Draft Bill) to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (committee) for inquiry and report.  The Exposure Draft Bill seeks to consolidate existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination law into a single Act, replacing the Age Discrimination Act 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

The Exposure Draft Bill proposes a number of reforms to Commonwealth anti-discrimination law, including:

·         introduction of a single, simplified, test for discrimination applying to all protected attributes;

·         coverage of additional protected attributes including sexual orientation and gender identity;

·        coverage of discrimination and sexual harassment in any area of public life;

·         a streamlined approach to exceptions, including a new general exception for justifiable conduct;

·         additional measures to assist and promote voluntary compliance;

·         improvements to the complaints process to improve access to justice; and

·      some adjustments to the functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The committee is due to report on 18 February 2013, and has invited written submissions to its inquiry by 21 December 2012.

We must ensure that sex workers human rights are included in the above recommendations.  You can contribute actively by making a submission recommending this and why.  The Exposure Draft Bill, explanatory notes and associated materials may be accessed from the committee’s website at www.aph.gov.au/senate_legalcon.

There appears to be widespread discrimination against sex workers in general throughout Australia. Discrimination, that also violates the basic Human Rights of sex workers. Lyon asserts that health outcomes of sex workers are directly affected by stigmatisation and marginalisation and that “It is described as the single biggest issue facing sex workers – even those who operate legally” (Lyon, 2011: 2.3.1, 45).

There has to be a shift away from the pre-existing moralistic viewpoint, to one that supports a public health and human rights approach such as New Zealand and New South Wales. It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and about public opinion in Australia.

In Queensland, it was found that sex workers who were working legally (i.e. service providers in licensed brothels, legal sole traders) had better mental health than those in illegal settings (Seib et al 2009). Harcourt et al (2005) suggested that decriminalization seemed to provide the best outcomes for sex workers health and welfare and that this is a desirable outcome that affects the community as a whole.

Jodine

SIGN THE PETITION HERE.

Youth Justice (Boot Camp Orders) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012

Political Lobbying

I am writing this submission for the Director of Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee who have been asked to report on the recent Youth Justice (Boot Camp Orders) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 by the 22nd of November, 2012.

As a legal sex worker in Queensland, I am appalled by the proposed amendment to the Anti-discrimination Act 1991 in particular, hidden within the Youth Justice (Boot Camp Orders) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012.  This Amendment effectively targets the removal of the one piece of legislation within the Act that protects the civil liberties and human rights of sex workers.   In the state of Queensland, it is illegal to discriminate against ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’.

The proposed new Amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act 2012 is therefore both illegal and discriminatory by all intents and purposes.   Supporting ‘legal’ discrimination is an oxymoron and against the United Nations ‘Universal Human Rights Constitution’.  The Prostitution Act 2000 made sex work legitimate work within Queensland and therefore legal sex workers are protected under the provision of ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’.  This new Bill is clearly singling out sex workers and does not make any reference to other business activities which may be conducted by other guests or patrons using various rented or leased accommodation to conduct their work.

This Bill  gives individual hoteliers/moteliers, body corporates and landlords the right to evict sex worker’s from their hotel rooms, apartments and homes on a whim, any time of the day or night, just because they either suspect or know someone is a sex worker and working.  This new law also extends to clients who will also be evicted if they get ‘caught’ bringing a consenting sex worker back to their hotel room, or place of residence.  This is blatant discrimination on a grand scale. It has all the elements of the former Joh Bjelkie-Petersen days most Australians want to forget.

This new Bill must be scrutinised in line with the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 which is now in effect.  The Attorney-General, Honorable Nicola Roxon, released a media statement on the 4th of January this year reminding us that all new laws must consider “… protection and promotion of human rights”.  Human Rights will be “…bought into sharper focus in Parliament this year with all new laws to be checked to see if they stack up against human rights obligations”.  The principles of freedom, respect, equality, dignity and a fair go, apply to everyone including sex workers.

Under the Commonwealth Of Australia Constitution Act says: COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 109 Inconsistency of laws When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

We are witnessing Puritanical Moral Police with God Complexes cavorting with Renegade Rednecks in positions of power who collectively gang up to bully minority groups and manipulate the media who then use propaganda and scaremongering tactics to mislead the public in order to gleen political votes which ultimately ensures that their pockets are fully lined.  Enough to pay for a good curry at least!

This Amendment will severely affect sex workers in every aspect of their lives.  It will also negatively impact their partners, children, family, friends and their clients.  Sex workers will be forced onto the street at all hours of the day and night.  Accommodation will be refused as word is quickly spread from one hotel to another, one real estate agency to another, one data base to another.  Current law abiding citizens will now become criminals.   Stigma and marginalisation will increase to even more damaging levels and sex workers health and well-being will deteriorate.

As it is, the number of sex workers accessing community organisations like RESPECT Inc, Queensland’s Sex Worker Organisation, for support, is increasing.  Sex workers are already finding themselves out on the street in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere with no place to go.  These illegal evictions are occuring because no one is protecting our basic human rights.  Sex workers live with this ever-present threat to their health and safety on a daily basis.

Last year, my then partner and I were evicted from my leased apartment.  We were physically locked out of the underground carpark we had been using for the past 6 months.  The gate codes were changed and we were told we were not allowed to park there anymore.  The onsite manager began to harass my guests at first as they came through the door and up to my apartment.  Including a RESPECT Inc support worker doing Outreach with me.  He then informed my real estate agent and attempted to prove I was a sex worker by going through the local paper. He then rang me on my work phone and left text messages.  He then told everyone in the complex that I was a sex worker and I was subject to rude stares, hostile looks and general beligerance from my otherwise unsuspecting neighbours.

The real estate agent then issued me with a Breach of Tenancy stating that I were running an illegal escort agency and we were told our lease would not be renewed.  We were not refunded all of our bond even though the apartment was beautifully kept.  We were not given a reference and we were not assisted to find other accommodation with the same real estate agency.  I provided the onsite manager and the real estate agent with pamplets from RESPECT Inc, ADCQ and the Prostitution Licensing Association (PLA) in an attempt to educate them about sex work and the law but it made no difference.

We had not done anything wrong or illegal.  I would discreetly sex work while my partner was away working for up to two weeks at a time.  I would then cease work when he came home for a week.  We were polite and courteous to everyone in the complex.  We minded our own business.  We didn’t have loud late night parties and no complaints were made against me, by my neighbours or clients.

So when a high profile case like the recent Civil & Administrative Tribunal ruling between GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd, Mrs Joan Hartley, ruled in favour of sex worker GK, all hell breaks loose!  We all felt a sense of hope that maybe we could trust the ADCQ and QCAT to get it right and apply existing laws to protect our civil and human rights.  Unfortunately, what we all witnessed was bigotry and corruption and widespread systemic discrimination at the highest level of government.  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”.  We are witnessing just how far up the hierarchy it has reached.

It is my shared belief that the Attorney-General, Mr Jarrod Bleijie is grossly abusing his political powers with other key political figures like Mr Campbell-Newman, and other Christian based groups and individuals, for political gain.  By interfering in this case he is perpetrating abuse against a specific vulnerable minority group and this is morally corrupt and unethical.  Mr Bleijie and his cronies should not be above the law.  He clearly has a bias and discriminatory agenda.  His actions are arguably enough to warrant a collective Anti-Discrimination complaint being made against him for further investigation.

Please seriously do something about what is going on under our noses.  There appears to be widespread discrimination against sex workers in general throughout Queensland and Australia.  Discrimination, that also violates the basic Human Rights of sex workers.  Lyon asserts that health outcomes of sex workers are directly affected by stigmatisation and marginalisation and that “It is described as the single biggest issue facing sex workers – even those who operate legally” (Lyon, 2011: 2.3.1, 45).  Pushing new laws through like this one, is an attempt to over-ride existing laws that have proven evidence that glows in the dark!  Even then, as we re-enter the Dark Ages, people who proclaim to see the light, are all blind.

There has to be a shift away from the pre-existing moralistic viewpoint, to one that supports a public health and human rights approach such as New Zealand and New South Wales.  It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and about public opinion in Australia.  In Queensland, it was found that sex workers who were working legally (i.e.  service providers in licensed brothels, legal sole traders) had better mental health than those in illegal settings (Seib et al 2009).  Harcourt et al (2005) suggested that decriminalization seemed to provide the best outcomes for sex workers health and welfare and that this is a desirable outcome that affects the community as a whole.

By Jodine

© Copyright, 2012, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

This submission can be found here along with others.

REGERENCES:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-02/hoteliers-given-power-to-evict-sex-workers/4350560 

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

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Law Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers: Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee. Christchurch: Otago University

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2009). The impact of decriminalisation on the number of sex workers in New Zealand. Journal of Social Policy 38(3) 515-31, 526, 528.

Anti-People Trafficking Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) 2011. Trafficking in persons: The Australian Government response 1 July 2010–30 June 2011. Canberra: APTIDC.http://www.ag.gov.au/Peopletrafficking/Documents/Trafficking+in+Persons.pdf

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, C Fairley,  (2010), ‘Improving the Health of Sex Workers in NSW: Maintaining Success’, NSW Public Health Bulletin 21(3-4) 74–7.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, L Watchirs Smith, K Schneider, JM Kaldor, MY Chen, CK Fairley, S Tabrizi, The Sex Industry in New South Wales: A Report to the NSW Government, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2012,http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/hiv.cms.med.unsw.edu.au/files/hiv/attachment/NSWSexIndustryReportV4.pdf. |

Bennachie, C. (2010).  Decriminalising Sex Work in New Zealand – What it means to sex workers.  Paper presented at the International AIDS Conference, Vienna, July 2010.

Christine Harcourt, S Egger, B Donovan (2005), ‘Sex Work and the Law’, Sexual Heath 2(3) 121–8.

Christine Harcourt, J O’Connor, S Egger, C Fairly, H Wand, M Chen, L Marshall, J Kaldor, B Donovan, (2010), ‘The Decriminalisation of Prostitution is Associated with Better Coverage of Health Promotion Programs for Sex Workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 34:5 at 482.

Davis, S. and Shaffer, M. (1994), Prostitution in Canada: the invisible menace or the menace of invisibility?, Vancouver, Commercial Sex Information Service, http://www.walnet.org/csis/papers/sdavis.html.

Donovan, Harcourt, Egger, Schneider, O’Connor, Marshall, Chen, and Fairley, The Sex Industry in Western Australia: A Report to the Western Australian Government, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales. Sydney, 2010

Hubbard, P. (2004), ‘Cleansing the metropolis: sex work and the politics of zero tolerance’, Urban Studies, 41: 9, 1687–702

Lyon, W., (2011). Prohibitory Prostitution Laws and the Human Right to Health, Research Dissertation presented for partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of LLM in International Human Rights Law (Nottingham Trent University/HETAC), Law School, Griffith college, Dublin. pg 10

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

O’Connor, C., Berry, G., Rohrsheim, R. and Donovan, B. (1996), ‘Sexual health and use of condoms among local and international sex workers in Sydney’, Genitourinary Medicine, 72: 1, 47–51.

Penny Crofts, ‘Brothels and Disorderly Acts’, Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice (2007) 1:2 at 1-39.

Perkins,R., Lovejoy, F. (2007), CallGirls:Private SexWorkers in Australia, Crawley:University of Western Australia Press.

PLA, Legal advice re: sole operator sex workers providing prostitution from motel rooms [Available at: http://www.pla.qld.gov.au/theLaw/legalAdviceSoleOprtrSxWk.htm]

Plumridge, L. and Abel, G. (2001), ‘A “segmented” sex industry in New Zealand: sexual and personal safety of female sex workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25: 1, 78–83.

QCAT,   GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd & Anor (No 3)  [2011] QCAT 509 (10/ADL134) Brisb Ann Fitzpatrick, Member 25/10/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/509

QCAT, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor (No 2)  [2011] QCAT 445 (10/ADL134) Brisb C Endicott, Senior Member 15/09/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/445

QCATA, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor  [2012] QCATA 128 (11/APL416) Brisb PJ Roney SC, Presiding Member Dr B Cullen, Member 31/07/2012  [available at:
http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2012/QCATA/128

Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service. (1987). Final Report. Volume 1: Corruption. Commissioner: The Hon Justice JRT Wood, 13. Retrieved from: http://www.pic.nsw.gov.au/files/reports/volume1.pdf

Scambler, G. (1997), ‘Conspicuous and inconspicuous sex work: the neglect of the ordinary and mundane’, in G. Scambler and A. Scambler (eds.), Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s, London and New York: Routledge.

Scarlet Alliance, Submission on Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012, http://scarletalliance.org.au/library/traffick_sub12/

Sex Services Premises Planning Advisory Panel, Sex Services Premises Planning Guidelines, NSW Department of Planning, 2004,http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/library/ssppg_04.

Susanne Dodillet and Petra Ostergren, ‘The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects’ Conference paper presented at the International Workshop Decriminalizing Prostitution and Beyond: Practical Experiences and Challenges The Hague, March 3 and 4, 2011,http://www.plri.org/sites/plri.org/files/Impact%20of%20Swedish%20law_0.pdf.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/changes-to-anti-discrimination-act-gives-motel-operators-power-to-evict-guests-suspected-of-providing-paid-sex-services/story-e6frg6n6-1226508386517

THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP, Attorney-General.  ‘Human Rights Check for  New Laws’, MEDIA RELEASE, 4 January 2012, http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media-releases/Pages/2012/First%20Quarter/4-January-2012—Human-Rights-check-for-new-laws.aspx

TVNZ News Online, (2009). Court told how cop bribed prostitute for sex. Downloaded 27th Dec 2011, from http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/court-told-cop-bribed-prostitute-sex-3127025

UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, Geneva, 2009, http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2009/JC2306_UNAIDS-guidance-note-HIV-sex-work_en.pdf.

Weitzer, R. (2005), ‘New directions in research on prostitution’, Crime, Law and Social Change, 43, 211–35.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s109.html”

NSW Call For Submissions on Brothel Regulation

Political Lobbying

I am writing this submission in support of my sex worker colleagues in New South Wales (NSW) who may soon have their human rights undermined and replaced with new laws re-instating registration and legislation.  I am addressing my concerns directly to the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC, via the Better Regulation Office) and to the inter-agency working party being asked to develop options to improve the regulation of brothels in NSW.

As a sex worker and a stakeholder, I do not support the 3 Options being reviewed.  It would appear as if decriminalisation is being replaced by licensing and registration and this does not protect my human rights and flies in the face of United Nations, Human Rights and Evidenced-based Research recommendations.

-Option 1: Improve the current regulatory system, including improving decision-making in planning for sex services premises and improving the sharing of information between NSW regulators. This option might equally be relevant for adoption as part of registration and licensing options.

-Option 2: Introduce a registration system for owners and operators of commercial sex services premises. The register could be maintained by a community-based peer outreach body or by a Government agency.

-Option 3: Introduce a licensing system for owners and operators of commercial sex services premises. The licensing authority, in determining suitability for a licence, would consider: whether the applicant is a fit and proper person; whether it is in the public interest for the licence to be granted; and whether appropriate arrangements have been made to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of sex workers and clients.

The current regulatory system in NSW is a system of Decriminalisation.  This means there are no special laws or criminal offences in relation to sex industry premises.  The registration or licensing options mentioned, are two completely different regulatory systems and in the context of Option 1, do not appear to improve the current regulatory system.

Decriminalisation means that my business is already regulated like other businesses, and subject to existing regulatory mechanisms such as local council planning and zoning regulations, WorkCover and the Australian Taxation Office.   If anything, I would like to see improvements made so that these regulations are applied fairly and sex workers are treated like any other business.  I think that if existing laws are already in place for businesses but are not being applied in the same way as other industries, then this amounts to discrimination.   The main cause of ‘illegal’ or ‘unauthorised’ premises are overly-restrictive council regulations.

I would like to see the Anti-Discrimination Act (NSW) include protection for sex workers on the basis of ‘lawful sexual activity’ or at least an acknowledgement that sex work is work and as such cannot be discriminated against as our legal occupation, vocation, calling or ‘trade’.  Councils often regulate on moral grounds and treat sex services premises differently to other businesses with similar amenity impacts. This is unjustified and discriminatory. More than 30% of brothels that have approval had to fight their way through costly Land and Environment cases for it (Donovan, Harcourt, Egger, Fairley, 2010).

I would like to see the appointment of an experienced sex worker liaison officer within the Department of Planning.  They could help Councils to understand the justification and rationale of decriminalisation and apply the principles in good faith. Then perhaps we may begin to see an improvement in the impact of planning on the public health prevention front and on the Occupational Health and Safety of sex workers and their clients.  Perhaps they will discover the reality of amenity issues?

This issue paper states the need for the review is due to concerns about a large number of unapproved (‘illegal’) brothels in NSW and to reduce and/or prevent crime and corruption.   Please don’t forget that decriminalisation was introduced because of corruption by NSW police and by removing police as regulators has successfully addressed corruption (Royal Commission, 1987).  Police are inappropriate regulators of the sex industry and I am glad they’re out!  Decriminalisation means sex workers can access support in the event of a crime.  There does not appear to be a need to reform a system that is already working.  I need Decriminalisation to continue to protect me from all forms of corruption, discrimination and violence.

Sex services premises present minimal amenity impacts to the community. There is no evidence to suggest trafficking is a facet in NSW.  Sex workers travel for work – just like other workers.  What did push sex workers to have to pay for contracts and engage third parties to facilitate travel was being refused visas or being discriminated against by embassies when their sex work status was known (Scarlet Alliance, 2012).

What we do have evidence for is that there are very low numbers of trafficking cases in Australian sex industry (Anti-People Trafficking Inter-departmental Committee (IDC) 2011).  However when sex industry is decriminalised and sex work is recognised as work, we have choices around where and how we work, choices to change workplaces if we want to and to seek support if we need it. Again, there is no evidence of widespread trafficking in the NSW sex industry.

This is no excuse to replace an already established and effective model such as Decriminalisation in NSW.  Any attempt to bastardise the existing model will only serve to pander to the whims of a few who base their decisions on moral grounds rather than fact.  Re-instating registration and legislation will force sex workers back 20 years and into the hands of the criminal underbelly we struggled to get out from under!  Do we really want to go there again?

There is no evidence of a large number of “illegal” brothels in NSW but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that licensing has created a large number of “illegal” brothels in Vic and Qld (Donovan et al, 2010).  Licensing creates a two tiered industry – the minority who can comply and the majority that cannot and are therefore considered “illegal”.  It is in sex workers best interests (and our clients) to be discreet and minimise any impacts on neighbours.  I have been living and working in my apartment for the past 18 months with no issues.  It is mostly the case that people are unaware that sex services premises exist in their suburb.

A recently published study also looked into safe sex compliance among sex workers in NSW and found that safe sex compliance among all sex workers exceeds 99%.  New South Wales is being heralded as taking a positive stand with its current decriminalisation recording these unprecedented new statistics of compliance by sex workers using condoms.  This is directly reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS amongst sex workers compared to other groups in the community (Donovan Harcourt Egger Fairley, 2010).

I take full responsibility for providing safer sex practices and as a result I have less risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease than the general public!  Sex workers have been in the forefront of the STI best practice for at least the last thirty years and safe sex is the industry standard.  Similarly in New Zealand, sex workers are taking “all reasonable steps to ensure a prophylactic sheath (condom) or other appropriate barrier is used” (Prostitution Reform Act 2003 cited in NZPC website).

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 (UNAIDS, 2009).

In an article written on her blog, titled ‘Brothel Licensing Not The Answer’, dated November 1st, 2011, Cate Faehrmann, MP for the Green Party, 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.

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’.

Please focus your attention to improving the inconsistent implementation of existing sex industry guidelines across local government and other areas.  Sex workers have human rights too and it is therefore inappropriate to change or create new laws during a media frenzy!  Sex workers are not criminals either.  Earlier in the year, the Attorney-General, Honourable Nicola Roxon, released a media statement on the 4th of January, 2012, reminding us that the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 is now in effect.  Human Rights will be “…bought into sharper focus in Parliament this year with all new laws to be checked to see if they stack up against human rights obligations”.  New laws must consider “… protection and promotion of human rights”.

The principles of freedom, respect, equality, dignity and a fair go, apply to everyone including sex workers.  Harcourt et al (2005) suggested that decriminalization seemed to provide the best outcomes for sex workers health and welfare and that this is a desirable outcome that affects the community as a whole.  I am not ashamed to be a sex worker.  I provide an outstanding service delivery in the face of huge stigma and discrimination.

I am an expert in my field and therefore I am informed about what the actual issues are.  I don’t want to see politically motivated lynch parties at government level take precedence over globally recognised, evidence-based research and best practice.  This would mean corruption at the highest level and symptomatic of a government that is incapable of caring for its people.  Please don’t take away my rights and revert to unsafe legislation and criminalisation.

by Jodine

© Copyright, 2012, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

References:

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

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Law Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers: Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee. Christchurch: Otago University

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2009). The impact of decriminalisation on the number of sex workers in New Zealand. Journal of Social Policy 38(3) 515-31, 526, 528.

Anti-People Trafficking Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) 2011. Trafficking in persons: The Australian Government response 1 July 2010–30 June 2011. Canberra: APTIDC.http://www.ag.gov.au/Peopletrafficking/Documents/Trafficking+in+Persons.pdf

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, C Fairley,  (2010), ‘Improving the Health of Sex Workers in NSW: Maintaining Success’, NSW Public Health Bulletin 21(3-4) 74–7.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, L Watchirs Smith, K Schneider, JM Kaldor, MY Chen, CK Fairley, S Tabrizi, The Sex Industry in New South Wales: A Report to the NSW Government, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2012,http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/hiv.cms.med.unsw.edu.au/files/hiv/attachment/NSWSexIndustryReportV4.pdf. |

Bennachie, C. (2010).  Decriminalising Sex Work in New Zealand – What it means to sex workers.  Paper presented at the International AIDS Conference, Vienna, July 2010.

Christine Harcourt, S Egger, B Donovan (2005), ‘Sex Work and the Law’, Sexual Heath 2(3) 121–8.

Christine Harcourt, J O’Connor, S Egger, C Fairly, H Wand, M Chen, L Marshall, J Kaldor, B Donovan, (2010), ‘The Decriminalisation of Prostitution is Associated with Better Coverage of Health Promotion Programs for Sex Workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 34:5 at 482.

Davis, S. and Shaffer, M. (1994), Prostitution in Canada: the invisible menace or the menace of invisibility?, Vancouver, Commercial Sex Information Service, http://www.walnet.org/csis/papers/sdavis.html.

Donovan, Harcourt, Egger, Schneider, O’Connor, Marshall, Chen, and Fairley, The Sex Industry in Western Australia: A Report to the Western Australian Government, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales. Sydney, 2010

Hubbard, P. (2004), ‘Cleansing the metropolis: sex work and the politics of zero tolerance’, Urban Studies, 41: 9, 1687–702

Lyon, W., (2011). Prohibitory Prostitution Laws and the Human Right to Health, Research Dissertation presented for partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of LLM in International Human Rights Law (Nottingham Trent University/HETAC), Law School, Griffith college, Dublin. pg 10

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

O’Connor, C., Berry, G., Rohrsheim, R. and Donovan, B. (1996), ‘Sexual health and use of condoms among local and international sex workers in Sydney’, Genitourinary Medicine, 72: 1, 47–51.

Penny Crofts, ‘Brothels and Disorderly Acts’, Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice (2007) 1:2 at 1-39.

Plumridge, L. and Abel, G. (2001), ‘A “segmented” sex industry in New Zealand: sexual and personal safety of female sex workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25: 1, 78–83.

Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service. (1987). Final Report. Volume 1: Corruption. Commissioner: The Hon Justice JRT Wood, 13. Retrieved from: http://www.pic.nsw.gov.au/files/reports/volume1.pdf

Scambler, G. (1997), ‘Conspicuous and inconspicuous sex work: the neglect of the ordinary and mundane’, in G. Scambler and A. Scambler (eds.), Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s, London and New York: Routledge.

Scarlet Alliance, Submission on Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012, http://scarletalliance.org.au/library/traffick_sub12/

Sex Services Premises Planning Advisory Panel, Sex Services Premises Planning Guidelines, NSW Department of Planning, 2004,http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/library/ssppg_04.

Susanne Dodillet and Petra Ostergren, ‘The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects’ Conference paper presented at the International Workshop Decriminalizing Prostitution and Beyond: Practical Experiences and Challenges The Hague, March 3 and 4, 2011,http://www.plri.org/sites/plri.org/files/Impact%20of%20Swedish%20law_0.pdf.\\

THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP, Attorney-General.  ‘Human Rights Check for  New Laws’, MEDIA RELEASE, 4 January 2012, http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media-releases/Pages/2012/First%20Quarter/4-January-2012—Human-Rights-check-for-new-laws.aspx

TVNZ News Online, (2009). Court told how cop bribed prostitute for sex. Downloaded 27th Dec 2011, from http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/court-told-cop-bribed-prostitute-sex-3127025

UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, Geneva, 2009, http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2009/JC2306_UNAIDS-guidance-note-HIV-sex-work_en.pdf.

Weitzer, R. (2005), ‘New directions in research on prostitution’, Crime, Law and Social Change, 43, 211–35.

Motel Discriminated Against Prostitute by Refusing Her Room: Tribunal

Awesome Media Articles

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, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved