Scarlet Alliance

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Advertising discrimination

Advertising shouldn't cost more for sex workers; Sex Workers shouldn't be criminalised or discriminated against when advertising.

Newspaper Companies in Australia have been able to get away with creating different advertising rules for sex workers in Australia. Whilst anti-discrimination legislation in Queensland and Australian Capital Territory would clearly cover this discrimination other States have been slow to implement anti-discrimination legislation to cover this practice.

Interestingly media has been reluctant to cover this practice that singles out sex workers for conditions different to any other advertiser.

The differences include

COST The section of several newspapers were sex workers advertisements are allowed are many times more expensive than any other section of the newspaper. "This is not large commercial brothels this is individual sex workers being charged several times more than other advertisers. There seems to be no reason for this difference. This practice has gone on too long and from our perspective appears to be newspaper companies taking advantage of sex workers." Janelle Fawkes, CEO, Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association. In a HACK Triple J show last year the journalist noted that the Sydney Morning Herald was one of the papers that charged several times more and the representative for the Sydney Morning Herald suggested this was because of the possible impact on the newspaper of running the advertisements.

REDUCED CONTROL OVER LENGTH OF ADVERTISEMENT In some newspapers including the Wentworth Courier a sex worker is unable to purchase less than a full weeks worth of advertising in a row. "The practice of not allowing sex workers to advertise for one or two days, a choice that is available to other advertisers, limits a persons ability to work part-time, to work only as often as they would choose and it it is simply not best practice for a persons occupational, health and safety to be restricted to working seven days straight." Janelle Fawkes, CEO, Scarlet Alliance.

CONTENT Most newspaper companies have a list of words that they determine to be acceptable for sex workers to use in their advertisements, others leave it up to the individual person taking the advertisement to decide. "In many cases whether a word is allowed or disallowed has very little to do with logic. From State to State the conditions vary dramatically and in many cases the same words are used blatantly in other advertisements within the same paper."

Victoria's Advertising Laws

You can read submissions by Scarlet Alliance as well as member organisation, Vixen Collective at the CAV website here. These submission include outlines of the laws controlling advertising for sex workers in Victoria and highlight some of the key problems they cause.