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.

 

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”

Safety in the BDSM Dungeon: Your Guide to Safer Kink

Health

This article has been written for TRACKS Magazine and the Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN).

Safety in the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sado-Masochism or Slave/Master) dungeon seems like a contradiction in terms really – considering the dungeon is where some people willingly go to be tortured, tormented, violated and humiliated.  However, safety does in fact set the scene for all BDSM play for both the administrators and recipients.  At the very forefront of professional BDSM practice, is the Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) philosophy that acts as both a guideline and an industry standard when practiced routinely every time there is any (unwilling) risk of potential harm to self or other.

Discuss before your session, what your safe word is.  Don’t make it a word like ‘stop’ or ‘don’t’ as it may be confused with consent in BDSM play.  Use a plain word like ‘aeroplane’, ‘monkey’ or ‘red’.  This ensures that if any injuries occur or are occurring there is a plan to stop, drop and check up on what is going on.  Always have the necessary equipment to cut through rope or chain in an emergency, such as a bolt cutter or scissors.  Be aware of breathing, sounds, smells, skin colour, and temperature, as well as what is being said.  Try to avoid being under the influence of drugs or alcohol where possible but if you or your client will be taking drugs, plan ahead, have all your own equipment and dispose of your equipment properly.  The BDSM world is mostly about the head fuck but never leave a bound person unattended, ever!  Discontinue BDSM play until all is well for you both.

Due to the nature of sex work and BDSM, the potential for direct (or indirect) contact with blood, faeces (shit), urine (piss), spit and semen (cum) is high, resulting in a direct correlation with an increased risk of possible exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) like Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) commonly known as Wart Virus, Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea and blood born virus’ (BBV’s) such as Syphilis, Hepatitis A, B and C or HIV.  It is therefore imperative that all preventative steps are taken to minimise this risk and increase our pleasure by incorporating safer sex practices into every aspect of sex, sex work and BDSM play.

It is equally important to point out that there is very little risk of contracting or transmitting HIV and other BBV’s or STI’s if you use condoms and water-based lubricant correctly.  Unfortunately it is still (wrongfully) illegal in some states in Australia for those with HIV to sex work or pay a sex worker for sex but let’s remember that HIV is a virus and not a crime (Scarlet Alliance, 2009).  There is also consensual sex and sex work between peers who live with HIV.  We all have the right to seek and receive sexual pleasure as long as we are not harming others in the process – unless of course controlled harm and harming is consensual.

As far a sex worker’s go, most of us in the sex industry are aware of how to do sex work safely before, during and after, as par for the course.  Let’s face it, it’s our livelihood and in our best interests to ensure that all risks are minimised and/or eliminated from our working environment.  A higher number of sexual partners does not necessarily mean there is an increased likelihood of having an STI.  On the contrary, sex workers are more vigilant about safer sex practices and condom use (Scarlet Alliance, 2009) than the general public.  Therefore, we cannot assume everyone else behaves accordingly in their everyday life.  The onus is on every single one of us sex workers, Mistress’s and Master’s, clients, sub’s and slave’s and Vanilla’s to insist that all play involving contact with the genitals, anus or blood, be done so safely and hygienically for everyone concerned.

This means the routine use of prophylactics (condoms) for intercourse and toys, anti-bacterial toy cleaner, dental dams, lubricants, latex rubber gloves for needle and anal play, clean needles or picks, needle disposal units, lined rubbish bins, baby wipes, hand sanitizer’s, equipment sterilising, and frequently cleaning your sheets and towels to minimise pubic lice (Crabs), bed bugs and scabies.  Remember when you are asked to violate someone’s arse with your fist; you need rubber gloves, and lots of lube.  If you are reaming it with a toy or strap on, then you also need condoms!  Create a barrier between you and it.

STI’s are transmitted through body fluids like semen and mucus such as natural fluids in the vagina and those left on unprotected sex toys.  Herpes can also be transmitted via kissing to the genital’s or mouth.  BBV’s like Hep A, B, C and HIV are transmitted via blood, syringes, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.  It is important to be aware of any cuts, lesions or abrasions on your fingers and in your mouth, as well as on the genitals.  Condoms act as a barrier to blood and fluid born viruses.  HIV is not transmissible by kissing, saliva, spit, urine or faeces, as large amounts are required to be passed on and the virus cannot survive for long outside the body.  However Hepatitis A and B can be transmitted by having unprotected mouth to anal play (Rimming).

Cleaning and caring for your sex toys will stop the transmission of STI’s.  In most cases warm soapy water will suffice if your dildo/vibrator is made out of rubber, latex, silicone or glass depending on whether or not it is waterproof.  If it isn’t, then a good quality anti-bacterial toy cleaner spray to use with a tissue will also suffice.  Boiling dildo’s for 3 minutes or putting them through a hot dishwasher cycle will also work but may damage them a lot quicker (Respect Inc).  Similarly, whips, paddles and canes and chains can be washed in warm soapy water and dried and/or shined with leather and wood polish.

Disposing of used condoms, gloves, needles, syringes, blades, swabs, pads, tampons, bandages etc, need a little bit more individual attention.  Condoms should be tied to avoid spillage of the semen, wrapped in a tissue and placed in a lined rubbish bin.  Similarly, with latex gloves.  These are taken off and naturally go inside out, therefore trapping any bodily fluids or faecal matter within them; they can be simply put in the bin.  Swabs, pads and tampons can also be placed in a lined rubbish bin and should never be flushed down the toilet.  Needles, syringes and blades need to be placed in a sharps disposable container to avoid the risk of accidental pricks (no pun intended).  You can request these from your local QuIHN office or needle exchange program.

Most of what I have talked about is common sense.  If you keep things simple you can’t go wrong.  Keep everything clean including you.  Wash or use baby wipes before and after each client or sexual partner, in fact have a packet in your bedside drawer.  Frequently wash or sterilise all toys, canes, paddles, tawse, whips and chains.  Frequently wash bed linens and towels.  Vacuum.  Recycle your plastic shopping bags and empty your rubbish bins daily.  Wash your lingerie and underwear regularly.   Remember safety in the BDSM dungeon also applies to the bedroom, couch or kitchen table!  The thing is to always be prepared.  Keep a travel kit with condoms, lube, gloves, dams, a toy, toy spray cleaner, baby wipes, portable sharps container, needles, syringes, plastic bags, and scissors or buy a first aid kit and modify it.

REMEMBER:  Safer sex is:
Always carrying condoms with you,
Always using condoms and water-based lube (NOT Vaseline),
Ejaculation inside the condom,
Oral sex using s condom or dam,
Always using a condom when sharing sex toys and change condoms between partners,
Always using latex gloves with anal and needle play,
Mutual masturbation,
Kissing your partners nipples and
Cuddling (Queensland government, Family Planning Queensland).

If you think safety first, before you know it you will be practising safer sex without even being aware you are doing so.   Even if you started doing one or two of these recommendations, you will be reducing your likelihood of transmitting or receiving an STI or HIV.  Everyone will be happy and enjoying getting off on whatever tickles their fancy… arse…clit…or nipple.  You get my drift.  Now, go, fuck off and start organising your dungeon and start practicing Risk Aware Consensual Kink!  In the meantime, I’m feeling horny!  I might just let my fingers do the talking…

By Jezabel Jodine
© Copyright, 2012, escortjodine.com.  escortjezabel.com. All Rights Reserved

REFERENCES:

Family Planning Association, ‘Tonight I’m Getting Infected Condoms’, What is Safe Sex?, Queensland Government Health, September 2008.

Matthews, K., Scarlet Alliance, ‘The National Needs Assessment of Sex Workers who live with HIV’, 2008

Respect Inc, ‘Cleaning & Caring for your Sex Toys’, Fact Sheet

Scarlet Alliance, 2009. Australia Sex Worker Association, ‘HIV Is Not A Crime’, ‘The contemporary response to HIV and the law in Australia: A collection of Articles‘, booklet.

Scarlet Alliance, 2009. Australian Sex Worker Association, ‘ STI Handbook: A Reference Guide for Sex Workers to Sexually Transmitted Infections’.  Commonwealth of Australia

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.


Legal Sex Working in New Zealand – Since Decriminalisation

About Sex Work

I began sex working in New Zealand in May of 2006.  I didn’t really know a lot about the sex industry up until this point, other than what I had seen and heard by non-sex workers and the media.  Needless to say, my knowledge was extremely limited and the thought of entering into an industry with negative popular belief and stigma was more than a little intimidating.  I was aware, however, of the passing of the New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) and the subsequent decriminalisation of the sex industry.

The Act was 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) implements certain other related reforms. This meant that I was no longer going to be viewed as a criminal at least.  I felt empowered to seek out the knowledge I required in order to establish myself as a private independent legal sex worker.

I initially approached a couple of friends I knew in the swinging scene.  Sharon and Rod from Club Sparty, were instrumental in steering me in the right direction.  I met with a known legal sex worker called Sally Munro at her apartment and we discussed the best course of action for me to enter into the sex industry and learn how to practice safely.  Together, we developed a website from which to launch my new career.  I settled on the name Rhiannan and subsequently my first website was created.

I am forever grateful for Sally’s help and support to me during this time.  The PRA had made it possible through decriminalisation, for me to seek out the knowledge I required from my peers and other sources, which enabled me to feel empowered to make an informed decision.  A strategy that my peers throughout Australia (excluding New south Wales where it is decriminalised) are not allowed to seek or provide for each other under the current criminalisation/prohibition model in Victoria and heavy legislation/regulation models in Queensland and other states.

I was given the opportunity to enter into the worlds oldest profession in a way my predecessors were unable to do.  For this reason, I have the utmost respect for sex workers who worked  in extremely adverse conditions where the risks of being exploited or charged as a criminal, were very real.  These sex workers paved the way for me and all new sex workers in New Zealand by refusing to be silenced on issues relating to health, occupational health and safety, violence, human rights and discrimination.  Their voices are continuing to be heard throughout Australia, by past and existing sex workers and their friends, family and clients, who realise that decriminalisation works and that this needs to be a national policy.  

Here in Queensland, I join voices like RESPECT Inc and Scarlet Alliance in the fight for decriminalisation and improved sex worker rights on every level of humanity in Australia.  The advantages far out-weigh the risks if only the media, lawmakers and other commentators would read and understand the evidence.  In New Zealand I know my basic human rights are being respected by law and I have choices about what I could do if my health and safety were compromised.  I am less likely to have violence perpetrated against me by corrupt police officers for example, because the penalty’s are a clear deterrent.

Consider the plight of former Constable Nathan Thorose Connolly who was sentenced to two years in December 2009, for threatening a sex worker to have free sex with him.  A clear warning to other’s that violence toward sex workers is no longer tolerated and a clear reason why decriminalisation will reduce all forms of violence against sex workers in general.  The PRA is directly responsible for the increase in the reporting of violence to Police, especially by street workers (Mossman and Mayhew, 2007:10) and this is because they can, not because violent crime toward them has increased.

Since decriminalisation in New Zealand, the numbers of sex workers on the streets has declined in the first five years since decriminalisation, according to the Prostitution Law Reform Committee in their five year report on the sex industry since decriminalisation.  There was no sudden increase in the numbers of visible sex workers on the streets as claimed would happen by opposition groups (Abel, Fitzgerald and Brunton, 2009:526. 528).  Quite the contrary. Consider that only 10% of the entire sex worker industry are street workers (Hubbard, 2004; Scrambler, 1997;  Weitzer, 2005).  Since their numbers on the street are reported to be declining, according to evidence based research, then wouldn’t it be correct to state that New Zealand is achieving this by creating an environment that empowers sex workers to improve their lives?  There is a correlating increase in sex workers moving from managed to private sector sex work.

Decriminalisation in New Zealand means that I am automatically protected from all sorts of  injustices and inequalities.  My rights are equal to every ones else’s and my sex work is recognised on every level… including in the area of accommodation.  I have to pay my taxes like everyone else.  I have access to Work Place Cover in the form of accident compensation from the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) for any loss of income due to injury in the workplace.  My Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) standards are peer reviewed and set to reflect the needs of both individual and collective sex workers according to their environments; like my peers who choose to work in brothels.  I am allowed to procure insurances that protect my income and health so that I can continue to work and contribute to society.  These are luxuries that I will never take for granted in New Zealand.

However, not everything comes up smelling like roses.   Stigma is still a major factor in my life as a legal sex worker no matter where I work.  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 have to carefully weigh up the implications of coming out to friends, family and the general public.  On a good day, I feel strong enough to withstand any slight on my person and can trust myself to respond in kind.  On a challenging day, I feel exposed and vulnerable and less articulate in defending myself.  Sometimes I feel like withdrawing inside my apartment and not engaging with the world.  Sometimes I crave the freedom to share some black humour with my peers and at other times , I just want to be liked for who I am – not defined by what I do.

Decriminalisation in New Zealand states in legislation that I have the freedom to contact other sex workers and organisations for peer support, debriefing, resources, referrals (to and of clients),  and to work together and share accommodation and costs.  Working together directly reduces the likelihood of violent crime continuing to be perpetrated against us.  We are also able to work together and share the income from clients who request a ‘double’ booking for example.  In Queensland, I am not allowed to minimise the sense of isolation and anxiety I feel at times, by not being allowed to have a ‘meeting of the minds’ with other sole traders.

By persistently addressing the issues, using evidence based global research to back up their argument, New Zealand become the first country in the world to completely decriminalise the sex industry as we know it.  I am extremely proud of Helen Clarke, the first elected female Prime Minister in New Zealand representing Labour, who fully supported the Act in all its parts.  I am also extremely passionate about writing for and about the sex industry because their collective voices continue to resonate in every core of my being.  There is still so much to be done to bring awareness to other parts of the world.

In conclusion, my experience of sex working in New Zealand  is far more preferable, if not for the weather!  Where sex work is decriminalised, my life, health and working conditions are much improved in general.  Over-regulation, as opposed to decriminalisation, makes illegal operations more attractive because the legal sector is kept smaller than the number of sex workers available to work (Lyon, 2011:10).  It’s not rocket science.   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.

Since 2006, I have developed into a successful private independent legal sex worker where I continue to provide a safe and discreet service to my clients, with minimal (if any) disruption or negative impact on my neighbours.  I live where I work and I ensure my clients have a discreet, anonymous entry into my world from the outset.  I live in an upmarket multi-storey apartment with an intercom which allows me to screen my clients and give them direct access to the lifts and to my floor only.  My neighbours are none-the-wiser and therefore not affected by my work.  I am also courteous and friendly to everyone I meet who lives in the building.  I treat people how I wish to be treated myself – with respect.

I have also entered and exited the sex industry at various times since 2006.  It is my choice to do so.  I do not need rescuing or saving by some organisation that gets a kick out of interfering in my life.  I am an autonomous, independent, educated person who chooses to work in the sex industry for all the benefits I experience.  Security, friendship, independence, money, sex, camaraderie and freedom.  Decriminalisation is the only way to go to improve health outcomes across the board, for everyone.  Jx

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

References

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.

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.

Jordan, J. (2005), The Sex Industry in New Zealand: A Literature Review, Wellington: Ministry of Justice.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

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

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.

Otago Daily Times, (2010). Ex-cop loses appeal over sex with prostitute. Downloaded 27th Dec 2011, from http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/101886/ex-cop-loses-appeal-over-sex-with-prostitute Regina v Connolly, Christchurch District Court [17 Dec 2009].

Plumridge, L. and Abel, G. (2000b), ‘Safer sex in the Christchurch sex industry: Study 2 ? survey of Christchurch sexworkers’, Christchurch School ofMedicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch.

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.

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.

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

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

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).

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.