SIN and Scarlet Alliance Joint Media Release: Sex workers devastated as Lower House vote against industrial, health and human rights for sex workers

SIN and Scarlet Alliance, 13/11/2019

Sex workers in South Australia and throughout Australia are heartbroken after the Members of the House of Assembly turned their backs on the rights and safety of sex workers in SA, despite widespread community support for decriminalisation of sex work.

The long awaited and widely  claimed SA Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill 2018 was narrowly defeated in the 2nd reading of the Lower House by just 5 votes. Nineteen members voted to pass the Bill and twenty four votes against.

 

Prostitution and sex work: nature and prevalence in England and Wales (report)

University of Bristol, commissioned by the Home Office and the Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, October 2019

The University of Bristol was commissioned by the Home Office and the Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner to look in to the current ‘nature’ and ‘prevalence’ of prostitution in England and Wales, involving adults aged 18 or over. The research was carried out between May 2018 and June 2019.  We were not asked to report on policy or law.  Drawing on the literature and initial findings, we used the following definition:

Prostitution and/or sex work constitutes the provision of sexual or erotic acts or sexual intimacy in exchange for payment or other benefit or need.

Following a systematic search of the existing national and international evidence base, including a review of previous prevalence studies, we sought views, data and personal experiences through a 6-month public online survey, yielding almost 1200 often detailed responses with over 500 from those currently or formerly involved in selling sexual services.  We also worked through NGOs and support services to identify individuals unlikely to respond to online surveys. We completed follow up in-depth email interviews with 42 individuals.  We invited 155 organisations, collectives and individuals to consult on our draft finding at four regional meetings in early 2019.

Given methodological and ethical constraints, we recognise two groups whose voices are under-represented or absent within this report: (1) Migrant sex workers; (2) British and non-British individuals who are/were forcibly coerced, who are/were trafficked, who are/were sexually exploited and/or who are traumatised in relation to their experience.

In terms of ‘prevalence’, currently in England and Wales there is no source of data which allows for the production of representative population estimates for this group.  Stigma, the private and hidden nature of the sex industry, complex engagement patterns and definitions of activities mean that estimating prevalence is challenging.  Producing an accurate estimate would require studies to follow the guidance and recommendations on data collection jointly produced by the UNAIDS and World Health Organisation (WHO) (2010) and/or to use statistically representative samples.  Focused and small-scale prevalence studies are also more likely to be accurate.  The report provides guidance on such work.

In terms of ‘nature’, overall, we found that the way that sex is sold in England and Wales today is both complex and diverse.  It is common for individuals to move between settings and services, for safety or to maintain income, and to engage full-time, part-time (sometimes alongside other paid work or study), intermittently or casually.  Looking across our data, we identified and structured our commentary around the following:

Cross-cutting themes

Identifying sex work, identifying as a sex worker

·         Social identities, inequalities and routes in

·         Patterns of engagement and moving between settings/services

·         Advertising, payment and third parties

·         Risk, harm and managing safety

·         Buyers and buying

 Settings and services

·         Bar-based sex work and hostess bars

·         BDSM, kink and fetish

·         Brothels, parlours, saunas

·         Erotic and exotic dance

·         Erotic massage

·         Escort: independent

·         Escort: agency

·         Pornography, glamour, erotica

·         Sex parties

·         Street and outdoor sex work

·         Sugar arrangements

·         Telephone, text-based, TV-based, live voyeurism

·         Therapeutic services

·         Webcamming

Individuals selling sex in England and Wales today are varied in terms of demographics and motivation. At the same time, there are recurrent patterns of experience or identity that mark some individuals’ entry into the sex industry and/or the type of setting, service or the conditions in which they work.

We found that a substantial proportion of individuals (mainly women and trans women) are selling sex to get by financially, given different constraints in their lives around caring responsibilities, physical and mental health, lack of access to social security benefits and support services, workplace discrimination, or other reasons.  Their situation is compounded by stigma and managing safety, and many find that the longer they sell sex, the harder it can be to leave completely.  This moves beyond individual ‘choosing or ‘not choosing’ and recognises the structural economic and social context in which choices are narrowed: or in the case of those coerced in to selling sex, choices removed.

Understanding the experiences of Culturally Diverse LGBTIQ+ Talent at Work

Diversity Council Australia, 2019

While many workplaces have developed LGBTIQ+ inclusion programs, they are not currently specifically addressing the cultural diversity of LGBTIQ+ people.

DCA, along with Pride in Diversity, is undertaking research to help better understand the experiences of Culturally Diverse LGBTIQ+ Talent at Work.

This project will help with understanding of the experiences of people of LGBTIQ+ people from culturally diverse backgrounds, and will assist in providing informed advice to workplaces about how to make inclusion initiatives work.

  • Are you or one of your colleagues an LGBTIQ+ person from a non-Anglo or a non-Main English speaking country cultural background?
  • Can you share your insights to help develop workplace guidance for Australian organisations wanting to better harness the skills and talents of LGBTIQ+ people from culturally diverse backgrounds?

What do I need to do?

Decriminalisation of sex work in south Australia (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA,  

On 31 May 2019, the Sex Industry Network (SIN) will gather at Parliament House to rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry and to recognise International Sex Workers Day.

In South Australia sex work is criminalised, prohibiting sex work so that those engaging in relevant activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and community-based organisations.

In a recent statement SIN said:

“Sex work is skilled labour. We deserve the same industrial protections as any other worker in South Australia and, currently, what sets us apart is the criminalisation of the industry within which we CHOOSE to work.”

Natasha Miliotis, Chief Executive of SHINE SA said:

“We support the work of SIN and their advocacy for the decriminalisation of sex work in SA.

Amnesty International, the United Nations and the World Health Organization have all called for the full decriminalisation of consensual sex work as the scientific evidence is now clear – criminalisation itself leads to harm¹.

From a public health perspective decriminalisation is important to not only reduce stigma and discrimination, but to improve the health and safety of workers, clients and the broader community².”

For more information on SIN’s celebration of International Sex Workers Day and the rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry visit www.sin.org.au.

For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development via email  or via telephone on 0434 937 036

 

 

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30532209

² https://theconversation.com/new-report-shows-compelling-reasons-to-decriminalise-sex-work-83955

Updated blood borne virus guidelines for health professionals in SA

SA Health, 11 April 2019

The ‘Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses’ have been updated. They can be viewed on the Commonwealth Department of Health website.

The guidelines are in two parts:

Part A provides information and recommendations for all healthcare workers, in particular:

  • healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures
  • healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus, and
  • doctors treating healthcare workers with a blood borne virus.

Part B provides information and recommendations for public health authorities including, but not limited to, hospitals and jurisdictional health departments, when managing or investigating a situation where a healthcare worker with a blood borne virus was not compliant with these guidelines and/or may have placed a patient(s) at risk of infection.

 

 

More needs to be done for LGBTIQ+ inclusion across Australia, ANZ research shows

ANZ, February 20, 2019

New ANZ research1 shows that almost half a million LGBTIQ+ community members (1 in every 4) in Australia are still not comfortable being their true selves and discussing their sexuality and gender identity with their loved ones or friends.

ANZ commissioned the research to mark its 13 year relationship with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

ANZ’s Group Executive Australia, Mark Hand, who is also Chair of ANZ’s Diversity Council, said: “Being open about your whole identity is something that all Australians should be comfortable doing, and yet our research shows that this is not the case.”

Key research findings:

  • 84% of LGBTIQ+ community members believe there are still parts of Australia where it is unsafe to be LGBTIQ+. And 68% of non- LGBTIQ+ think so too.
  • 68% of Aussies support efforts to improve LGBTIQ+ equality.
  • LGBTIQ+ community members are still twice as likely to experience some form of harassment, discrimination or open prejudice because of their sexual orientation.
  • 52% of LGBTIQ+ community members would not open up about their sexuality with their manager at work.