Scarlet News:

AMSWAG Statement on the ‘Rescue Industry’

Apr 19, 2024 | AMSWAG

Asian Migrant Sex Worker Advisory Group will not be engaging in consultation processes with the ‘Rescue Industry’

This statement was written with our informed perspectives as Asian migrant sex workers in Australia. We understand our role in highlighting the core issues that we have in our workplaces and our lives as workers in the sex industry.

Firstly, we would like to highlight issues that we face – the usage of ‘sex trafficking’ and ‘modern slavery’ to further increase the stigma and discrimination in our work. 

Recent reviews of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and the trafficking and slavery provisions in the Crimes Act 1990 (Cth) have highlighted the flaws in basing Australia’s response to trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices within criminal justice and corporate reporting frameworks.

We understand that these campaigns come from the ‘Rescue Industry’ – seeking to remove sex workers from our workplaces and increase the stigma around our work. The ‘Rescue Industry’ fails to understand our experiences and current problems as sex workers and as Asian kigrants, and lobbies against our work and our belief in full decriminalisation.

Rescue organisations have historically campaigned for an increase in police crackdowns and further power to the border force. 

Australia’s anti-trafficking response has led to migrant sex workers experiencing workplace raids, fear and distrust towards police and immigration officials, migration detention/deportation and a lack of access to compensation/redress options.

The ‘rescue industry’ – including multiple rescue organisations – seek to use our experiences to campaign against sex work, earning legitimacy by using our stories and competing for funding that could have gone to peer organisations such as Scarlet Alliance and Vixen. Sex worker-led spaces are safe places for our community, whereas rescue organisations are not.

We will continue to be in dialogue with organisations that will campaign for our rights.