FIFO Inquiry Submission 2012

Political Lobbying


I am writing this submission in response to the current Inquiry by the House of Representatives, into the ‘fly-in, fly-out’ (FIFO) workforce practices in regional Australia.

Current sensationalised media articles are wrongly reporting that sex workers who FIFO/DIDO to regional Queensland, are ‘unregulated prostitutes who are contributing to the growth of sexually transmitted diseases’.  This is inaccurate.  Sex work is heavily regulated in almost every state in Australia (except NSW where sex work is decriminalised) and there is no epidemiological evidence that suggests that sex workers contribute to the rise in STI’s in any way, shape or form what-so-ever.  In fact, there is numerous evidence based research that suggests the opposite.

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.  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).  A recently published study also looked into safe sex compliance among sex workers in New South Wales (NSW), and found that safe sex compliance among all sex workers exceeds 99% (Donovan Harcourt Egger Fairley, 2010).  Sex workers do not need laws to compel them to use condoms and it is insulting that such a law was deemed necessary in 2003 in Australia, given that history and research clearly indicated it was not required (Donovan et al 2010: 74).

Associate Professor John Scott of the University of New England told Australian Mining that there was no evidence to suggest that a rise in sex workers translates into a rise in sexually transmitted diseases.  Media articles like ‘Freelance Sex Workers Factor in Explosion of Infections’ are unsubstantiated and defamatory and arguably subject to class action law suits by multiple complainants.  There are also no studies that suggest that rural sex work has increased at all.  In fact, New Zealand and NSW are reporting a decline in the numbers of street based sex workers since decriminalisation (Mossman, & Mayhew, 2007).

There has also been no sudden increase in the numbers of visible sex workers on the streets generally, as claimed would happen post decriminalisation by opposition groups against the New Zealand Prostitution Law Reform Act 2003 (PLA), dispelled by Abel, Fitzgerald and Brunton (2009:526. 528).  Quite the contrary.  Only 10% of the entire sex worker industry are street based sex workers (Hubbard, 2004; Scrambler, 1997; Weitzer, 2005).  Since their numbers on the street are reported to be declining, it is more accurate to state that New Zealand and NSW are achieving desirable outcomes because the legislation is consistent and supportive and recognises that people make better choices for themselves when they feel more empowered to do so, under decriminalisation.

Consider that street based sex workers only account for about 7-10% of the entire estimated sex worker population (Hubbard, 2004; Scrambler, 1997; Weitzer, 2005).  This number easily escalates when we have groups of renegade landlords, real estate agents and hoteliers throwing sex workers from their accommodation and out onto the streets, where they invariably think they belong.  Often these legal sole traders have paid for their accommodation in advance, are refused a refund and are also refused other accommodation in the area, as word spreads to other providers who also discriminate.

Similarly, we see real estate agents accusing their tenants of running ‘escort agencies’ from their leased premises, despite sole trading and practising lawful sex work, who are then issued with a ‘Notice of Breach’ of Body Corporate By-laws and then have their lease cancelled without a reference.   Forcing sex workers onto the the street by making it difficult to secure accommodation, increases the risk of violence being perpetrated against them in the exact same way it does forcing sex workers to relocate to less visible area’s on the street.  It forces sex workers into vulnerable and dangerous situations and into the arms of Australia’s criminal underbelly (Hubbard, 2004).

Laws need to be made in Australia that are consistent and in line with globally recognised Human Rights best practice.  It is no good to say that legal sex workers are able to practice ‘lawful sexual activity’ from their accommodation by the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ) and then have the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) find any weak excuse to undermine this, such as what happened in the recent QCAT decision against the legal sex worker GK, about to be appealed.  Blatant inconsistencies like this, highlight just how difficult it is for sex workers (and the community) to work within these heavily regulated and meaningless laws.  It should be unlawful and illegal for a sex worker to be evicted from anywhere just because they are a sex worker.

Decriminalisation of the sex industry 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, Brothel Licensing Not The Answer, 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.”

The New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) is achieving such success in its positive health outcomes because it was designed in consultation with the public, sex workers and sex worker organisations during a three year parliamentary debate.  It reflects the nature and scope of sex work.  It balances the need’s of the community with the human Rights of sex workers.  The Act is designed to (a) safeguard the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation; (b) promote the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers: (c) be conducive to public health: (d) prohibit the use in prostitution of persons under 18 years of age; and (e) implement certain other related reforms (cited in NZPC:Law).

Proven harm-minimisation models are being applied by sex worker organisations and healthcare providers throughout Australia and New Zealand (and the rest of the world) with a great deal of success, all-be-it limited under current legislation in heavily regulated/criminalised states in Australia.  These same service providers are funded by Government.  The overall objective is to reduce the impact of the harm caused to self or other by educating those directly affected in order to raise their awareness of the alternatives that may (or may not) be available to them.  Harm-minimisation stems from the belief that people are at various stages of development and as such need to be approached and met at their level of awareness, while being given the tools, support and resources to facilitate a process whereby individuals feel empowered to make better choices for themselves and ultimately the community.

There seems to be an entirely false set of mores circulating within Australia that attempts to wrongly link sex workers with violence, drug addiction and paedophilia.  Rape is violence and is perpetrated throughout society against women (and men) in every area of society.  Only 7% to 17% of brothel and escort sex workers in Australia report ever injecting drugs (Harcourt et al., 2001; Perkins & Lovejoy, 2007; Pyett et al., 1996)The WA report shows a table 3.27 that suggests that drug use in Perth brothels is around the same as rates in the general population (with the exception of much higher rates of tobacco use).

Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence to link sex workers and paedophilia.  Paedophiles do not discriminate between boys and girls and are more often than not, someone we know, who is trusted and has complete access to our children.  They do not walk around with a sign around their neck nor do they belong to any one sub-section of society.  Sex workers are not a homogeneous group and therefore there are no more issues that are more important to certain sectors of society than others (O’Connor et al., 1996: Plumridge and Abel, 2001).

In conclusion, there appears to be widespread discrimination against sex workers in general throughout regional 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).

This is currently being reflected in the stories media are publishing that appear more like a frenzied attacks between FIFO/DIDO sex workers trying to practice lawful sex work and citizens behaving unlawfully as if they are justified, despite laws to the contrary.   Media are fuelling this unhelpful debate by not reporting accurately and relying on misinformed comments from an uneducated public, with the sole purpose of selling newspapers.  They are pandering to assumed popular belief and taking no responsibility for their professional code of ethics.

There is also a misrepresentation of the nature and scope of sex work and sex workers both collectively and individually.  The media appear to only be reporting one side of the story, completely ignoring the facts.  There appears to be a push to make new laws in an attempt to over-ride existing ones that are flawed, replacing them with even more Draconian versions designed to control rather than empower.  Over-regulation, 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).

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’s.  It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and public opinion in Australia.

I would like to remind the House of Representatives, that 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.  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.  Jx

Please view this and other Submissions for the Inquiry at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ra/fifodido/report.htm.

REFERENCES:

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L. and Brunton, C. (2007), ‘The impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the health and safety practices of sex workers’, Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee, University of Otago, Christchurch.

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

The WA Report, 2007, ‘The Sex Industry in Western Australia Basil Donovan, Christine Harcourt, Sandra Egger, Karen Schneider, Jody O’Connor.

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

Mossman, E., & Mayhew, P., (2007). Key Informant Interviews: Review of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, Pg 10

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

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


Police Sting Nabs Kerb-crawlers

Offensive Media Articles

I am referring to an article in the Sunday Herald Sun titled Police sting nabs kerb-crawlers written by Jon Kaila, dated December 18th, 2011.  In this article Senior Detective Daly of the Victoria Police warns our clients that they will be arrested and charged for talking to undercover policewomen, posing as sex workers on the streets of Victoria.

The sad thing about this latest ploy to isolate our most vulnerable sex workers, is that Police are now making criminals out of the “…average everyday bloke…”.  While it is not illegal in every other state in Australia to practice lawful sex work, there will always be a minority of sex workers, who through circumstances beyond their control, will find themselves in situations where sex working on the street is their only reliable source of income.  But this is not all street workers.

Consider that street sex workers only account for about 7-10% of the entire estimated sex worker population (Hubbard, 2004; Scrambler, 1997;  Weitzer, 2005).  By charging normal everyday people who choose to see them, in an attempt to drive these sex workers away, is nothing short of stupidity and an abuse of power by Police.  Sex workers are not homogeneous either, therefore there are no issues that are more important to certain sectors than others (O’Connor et al., 1996: Plumridge and Abel, 2001).  By moving them on to less visible locations, actually increases the risk of violence being perpetrated against them and forces them into the arms of street criminals (Hubbard, 2004).

While Victoria Police have admitted it is pointless targeting sex workers, they are in fact continuing to do so by targeting their clients in this way.  Here we see the average Joe Blogs being directly harmed with no regard for the impact on their families and friends, let alone the ongoing victimisation toward sex workers in general.  It is simply not good enough to make criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens.  Compound this with other inappropriate, heavily regulated sex industry laws that do not recognise the specific needs of sex workers generally, so they can continue to practice their work safely and with dignity, and we have a recipe for disaster.  Bad Police decisions like this one, whom despite “…studying [other reputable] methods from around the world…”, still choose to fly in the face of recognised best practice models.  Developing and implementing a completely hostile strategy like ‘operation sting’, for want of a better description, is designed to burn bridges, not build them.

We are witnessing the corruption of recognised ‘best practices’ in favour of poorly researched, social experiments where everyday people and those who have the least amount of resources and ability to defend themselves, are being used as human guinea pigs, deemed worthless of consultation by the establishment.  These sex workers and their clients have not had their Human Rights considered.  Everyone has the right to choose whether or not to sell or pay for sex and live in peace, without harassment and vilification.  If society chooses to ignore the research and deny the real issues, then sex workers also have the right to provide for themselves as best they can.  Only they can determine what their immediate needs are.  Take away their only source of income and what do you think will happen?

Proven harm-minimisation models are being applied by sex worker organisations and healthcare providers throughout Australia and the world with a great deal of success, all-be-it limited considering current legal constraints for sex workers in Australia and those assisting them.  These same service providers are also funded by the Australian Government! The overall objective is to reduce the impact of the harm caused to self or other by educating those directly affected in order to raise their awareness of the alternatives that may (or may not) be available to them.  Harm-minimisation stems from the belief that people are at various stages of development and as such need to be approached and met at their level of awareness, while being given the tools, support and resources to facilitate a process whereby individuals feel empowered to make better choices for themselves and ultimately the community.

Some of these sex workers may not want a way out of the sex work industry.  Sex work might be all they have known but they will know the industry inside out and back to front.  They are well aware of the risks they are taking under current criminalised/heavily regulated legislation, continuing to provide a service to the community and do everything in their power to reduce the risks associated with providing a sex service.  However our attempts are also futile when inappropriate policies like this, leave us with little or no room to move and even less legal standing in society to fight these and other types of injustices.  Look at what is happening in the mining towns in outback Queensland at the moment.

Sex workers are being evicted and thrown out onto the street by hotelier’s who undoubtedly think that the street is where they belong.  Laws need to be made that are consistent.  It is no good to say that legal sex workers are able to practice ‘lawful sexual activity’ from their accommodation by the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ) and then have the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) find any weak excuse to undermine this, such as what happened in the recent QCAT decision against the legal sex worker GK, about to be appealed.  Blatant inconsistencies like this, highlight just how difficult it is for sex workers to work within these heavily regulated and meaningless laws.  Sex workers need their basic human rights protected – on and off the streets.

In conclusion, as a legal and lawful sex worker in almost every state in Australia, I need decriminalisation to occur nationally in order to improve the health and safety of sex workers, their clients and the public.  I need laws that recognise, reflect and support the nature and scope of the work we do.  I need laws that are consistent and designed to back other area’s of legislation in support of lawful sex work.  I need laws that allow sex workers to work together and support each other in order to debrief and reduce the likelihood of violent crimes being committed against them.  I need laws that do not allow sex workers to be evicted from anywhere at the whim of Police and groups of renegade hoteliers, real estate agents and landlords.  I need my human rights to be on an equal par with the rest of my community as recommended by the United Nations and demonstrated by New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act 2003.

When laws and policies are made without consultation with sex workers and sex worker organisations, decisions will be made, like this one, that compromise all the good work health and sex worker organisations are currently doing across the board.  Why are we continuing to ignore the issues?  How can we make effective policies and develop strategies without all the relevant information?  We can’t.   How can we continue to practice a service delivery when we are up against conflicting government policies designed to pit one against the other?  We can’t.  Australia is failing our sex workers, our clients and our community by not legislating in support of decriminalisation of the sex industry.  It is about time we did something intelligent about it.  Jx

© Copyright, 2011, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

References:

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.

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

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.

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.

 

Brothel Licensing Not The Answer

Awesome Media Articles

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, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

References:

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

Prostitutes Told To Go Elsewhere!

Offensive Media Articles


I am referring to yet another ridiculous article in the media.  This time it is an article in the Daily Mercury in Mackay, titled Prostitutes Told To Go Elsewhere by Andrea Davy, dated the 17th of November, 2011.  However, the comments made on this article are much more concerning and show anecdotal evidence of the depth of gender and sex-worker discrimination in Australia.

It seems that Mackay managers and owners have an ‘eye’ for female sex workers and an ‘ear’ for things that go hump in the night!  There is no mention of male or trans sex workers what-so-ever!   I wonder if they are aware of how many outcall’s we sex workers do where we are invited in to their guests room?

I feel it is my duty as a professional sex worker to point out that these particular managers and owners are in the minority. There are numerous hoteliers who are more than happy to have us stay and work from a room all over the world.  Not all sex workers are a nuisance.  But within any industry, we all need to learn how best to conduct ourselves.  In most cases, if you treat a person, sex worker or other, with respect, and discuss your concerns directly, then it is more likely that a win/win solution is found where everyone is happy.  There are of course exceptions to the rule, however the key to successful business management is communication. The same principle applies to my clients.  I have included a whole page on my website dedicated to educating my clients on how to behave.  It works well.

Since it is legal in Australia for sex workers to practice Lawful Sexual Activity, it stands to reason that people need to learn to manage how best to accommodate sex workers throughout Australia.  This includes sex workers learning how to work alongside hotel/motel owner operators.  In a modern world, I expect that there is respectful discussion and negotiation from both sides, however I do not accept blatant disrespect for the law by citizens who see themselves as a law unto themselves.  It is illegal to discriminate and implement a ‘no working girl’ policy anywhere in Australia!

The article only seems to discuss sex work and does not consider how many other types of work is conducted from hotel rooms.  Most people enjoy the availability of internet so they can continue to work.  Travelling sales agents regularly ‘ply their trade’ and conduct their businesses from their rooms.   It is ludicrous to blatantly discriminate and allow some trades and not others.  There are a lot of generalisations being made about sex workers and guests.  There is a huge demand for sex workers.  Sex workers are meeting the demands and are often sought by guests.  Guests include men, women and couples.  Yes, I also see women and couples.  I do not discriminate or judge others based on their marital status, gender or sexuality.

The argument appears to be a moral one.  I like Mattj001’s comment, where he quotes HG Wells, who said “moral indignation is jealousy with a halo”.  People seem indignant at how much sex some people are having.  People also seem to be perturbed by how much money some sex workers earn.  If we looked at the actual numbers of sex workers registered to pay tax on their earnings with the Australian Tax Office, I can guarantee this figure will be increasing every year and this equates to new industry money in the government coffers.

As sex workers begin to trust that they will be treated like any other worker, and receive all the same rights and opportunities as other hard working sole traders, they will feel more inclined to declare the majority of their earnings and have no qualms about doing so.  Fair Work Australia need to support sex workers fully and completely.  However, I am concerned that my hard earned tax dollars are not being spent nearly enough on national and community projects involving sex workers in education, health and safety, and worker compensation.  But that is another issue.

The article shows a particularly nasty Redneck underbelly within Mackay, if not Australia.  FearlessFred’s comments are particularly alarming, as are other comments attempting to fabricate a link between rape, child abuse and sex work/ers.  There seems to be an entirely false set of mores circulating within Australia and I would have to write a completely new article to discuss them.  I can tell you that rape is violence and is perpetrated throughout society against women (and men) in every area of society.  I can also tell you that paedophiles do not discriminate between boys and girls and are more often than not, someone we know, who is trusted and has complete access to our children.  They do not walk around with a sign around their neck nor do they belong to any one sub-section of society.

In conclusion, there appears to be discrimination based on gender and against sex workers in general.  There is also a misrepresentation of the nature of sex work and of sex workers both collectively and individually.  It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and public opinion.  Journalists need to be educated on how to write articles that are a credit to their profession rather than an appalling attempt to confer with assumed popular belief.

Sex workers need to be recognised as the experts in their profession and as such need to be consulted on all area’s pertaining to sex work in Australia.  Important law reform and increased awareness and understanding of the nature and scope of sex work, will not occur until we have honest and frank discussion in order to dispel the myths associated with it. Important debates need to continue with the aim of improving the current laws and regulation.  Jx

© Copyright, 2011, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

Coal Girls Hit Pay Dirt

Offensive Media Articles

I am referring to a recent article in the Sunday Mail (Qld), titled “Coal Girls’ Hit Paydirt at Queensland’s Booming Mining Towns”, dated 6th November, 2011, by Kathleen Donaghey, Daryl Passmore and Jackie Sinnerton.

I take great offence from the undertone of this article and the supposed research being composed by Kerry Carrington.  I am a successful private independent sex worker and I, like the majority of sex workers, use condoms with all of my clients and conduct STI checks with every client (male and female).  I also have regular health checks for my own peace of mind even though it is not required of an independent sex worker in Queensland.

It is not the sex workers who are spreading disease, as articles like this insinuate.  The truth is that sex workers have led the way in STI prevention because we are self-regulating, our bodies are our business and it is part of sex work culture to use condoms.  We are not the reason there is an increase in STI’s in the mining towns or anywhere for that matter.  The increase is largely due to our young people between the ages of 15-24, who are choosing to have un-protected sex as par for the course.  There is little or no evidence that suggests that sex workers contribute to this debate either directly or indirectly.

I am more concerned with poorly researched, speculative media articles like this that paint a false, disgusting, negative image of sex workers as less than human, unclean and ignorant.  The language these journalists have used is highly emotive and bias.  Words like prostitute, hookers, privateers and unregulated all paint a slanderous picture of sex workers generally with no regard of the socio-political implications. Suggesting that our industry is unregulated and contributing to rising statistics in STI’s is blatant misrepresentation by researcher Kerry Carrington.  Ignorance breeds ignorance in this case.  Her research is already tainted and will hold no credibility.  Articles like this, directly contribute to the stigma sex workers deal with on a regular basis from the general public.

Since the passing of New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act 2003, Kiwi sex workers and their consenting clients, have enjoyed decriminalisation of the sex industry with all the perks and priviledges that go along with it.  Sex workers have the same benefits as any other sole trader or business owner.  By normalising the sex industry in this way, the profession is now safer, healthier and happier for everyone concerned.   By imposing differing and contradictory bogus rules and regulations from state to state, as Australia seems hell bent of doing, does little to improve the overall health, work and safety issues that are present in our industry.

If Australians agreed to decriminalise sex work and have one national policy,  then people (clients, workers and the public) would know where each other stands and take responsibility for playing their own parts.  The Police would be available to engage with sex workers and focus on investigations and complaints more openly where violent crime against women occurs (sex worker or not).  I’m sure sex workers would feel a lot more positive about providing information to police if we knew we were not going to be victimised or charged.

The government would be able to focus on sexual health issues like the ones raised here by continuing to adequately fund sexual health services, youth and other community organisations like RESPECT Inc, who support new and existing sex workers by providing education and distribution of condoms, so they can continue to practice their work safely.  I would like to see my hard earned tax dollars being invested positively in this way!

I digress, but my point has been made.  Haven’t you, the media,  got more pressing issues to worry about other than poking your nose into an industry that you obviously know nothing about and who are not prepared to research appropriately?  Furthermore, what are you actually trying to say by referencing how much money sex workers may or may not make? Many people earn good money working (sex work, mining or other).  Who cares?

A CEO can potentially earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, in order to reflect the nature of their job and the social and political pressures that go along with it.  Is sex work any less different?  Look at the personal, social, political and public pressures sex workers have to deal with on a daily basis, so aptly demonstrated by The Sunday Mail in the article in question.  Sex workers earn and deserve every cent they make and we are appreciated by our clients, despite the presence of whorephobic journalists.  I will continue to have my say on matters that affect and concern me, my colleagues, clients, friends and family.

It saddens me that there are people in journalism who have no regard for their profession and who clearly skipped the series of lectures on professional ethics, social justice and implications of getting it wrong.  It would have been more useful to raise the issues of the increase in reported STI’s by listing current research, evidence and statistics followed by some youth friendly tips, in an attempt to raise the awareness for young people about STI’s and condoms.  Now that would have made a positive statement.  As it stands, this article is embarrassing, offensive and degrading to sex workers and their clients.

Jx

© Copyright 2011, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

Australian Prostitution Law Reform

About Sex Work

Australian prostitution law reform has a long way to go before it parallel’s New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act 2003.  New Zealand prostitution laws are now some of the most liberal in the world (1).  The most significant problem area’s, in my opinion, for Australian sex workers and their clients is the lack of a national policy uniting all states, and the overall decriminalisation of sex work itself.

There are particular area’s for concern with regard to the current prostitution regulations outlined by the Queensland Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA) (2) and current police practices which appear to contradict each other.  For example, it is illegal for a client to ask for sex services without a condom (Natural) and if reported, may be charged accordingly.  However, Queensland police are proposing in an Amendment Bill 2011, to include Clause 101 in the current legislation, which allows 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).

It doesn’t take a genius to see that under current legislation, this is illegal where individual police officers could be charged themselves for breaking the law.  There is also concern for the method in which police officers may enact entrapment.  I believe police are targeting Asians and young people in the sex industry who may not be aware of current laws and practices and who are limited in their ability to defend themselves when faced with an undercover police officer pressuring them for Natural sex services.  Many are afraid of the police, and with good reason, while others have language barriers or are just plain young and uneducated.

I’m sure we all agree that by changing a law to allow police to enforce entrapment for sex workers is a waste of tax payers money.  At the end of the day, an individual sex worker will receive a minimal $500 fine and continue on their merry way. Thousands of dollars are wasted, in a so-called attempt to reduce the spread of STI’s when in actual fact, most sex workers are familiar with condoms and use them regularly and have done so successfully for years.  The issue is not with sex workers spreading disease, but with our young people between the ages of 15 and 24 (3), who randomly have unprotected sex as par for the course.

Presently, different Australian states have different degree’s of decriminalisation and regulation and it is a legislative nightmare for sex workers who travel frequently interstate.  In Queensland for example, sex workers do not need to be registered if they are working as independents, however are required to be registered if they are working from a brothel.  In the Northern Territory (NT), all sex workers must report to and register with the police upon arrival and may only work from a licensed brothel.

As far as Queensland PLA health regulation goes, it is a compulsory requirement that all sex workers working in a brothel, have a sexual health check every 3 months. However independent sex workers do not have to have any – although it is my opinion that best practice includes having regular sexual health checks for peace of mind and health regardless of where we work from.

In conclusion, by undermining efforts to develop a cohesive prostitution law reform and raise awareness of the use of condoms by sex workers, such as the work that RESPECT INC (4) are doing, and legislating that police can continue old out-dated practices by breaking the law, is a slap in the face to any sort of prostitution law reform.  There are current anti-discrimination laws in place to protect people from this sort of harassment and vilification (5).  There are other more important area’s of actual crime where your services are desperately needed such as in homicide, theft/burglaries and domestic violence.  There is nothing wrong with offering or paying for sex services by consenting adults.

It is equally ludicrous to assume that different states have different types of sex workers that require different laws in order to provide the same sex service that has been provided for thousands of years.  Come on Australia!  Wake up and smell the roses.  The world is changing and becoming more tolerant.  Sex workers are not going away. We may as well make it safe for everyone and this includes taking opinions seriously from sex workers who have direct knowledge and experience to develop appropriate legislation for all concerned.  It makes sense that having a national cohesive prostitution law reform such as New Zealand’s, would benefit the majority of Australians.

© Copyright, 2011, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

References:

(1)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_New_Zealand

(2)  http://www.pla.qld.gov.au/

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

(4)  http://www.respectqld.org.au/

(5)   http://www.adcq.qld.gov.au/Brochures07/lsa.html

Footnote:
I have included the web reference for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, America (3) to highlight STD rates among young people between the ages of 15 and 24 as a reliable, comparable and evidential based source.