Jeffreys, Elena “Migrant Sex Workers Research in Australia” November 2008

Chinese and Thai migrant sex workers are enjoying their time in Australia, and seeing it a profitable destination within our region. While most are travelling for sex work for the first time; the age, life experience, language skills, and educational levels show that migrant sex workers are upwardly mobile and have an international outlook. They have previously travelled and worked throughout the region, and anticipate returning to Australia.

The use of SIREN as an evidence base for policy and service delivery has had huge and demonstrable results in NSW. We know this thanks to the Sydney Sexual Health surveys that were conducted prior to and a decade after the SIREN project.

However research projects since SIREN have consistently urged increased funding for sex worker organisations infrastructure, translation, staff professional development, and outreach services to multilingual workplaces. Ignoring these specific outcomes is directly ignoring the voices of migrant sex workers.

Australian non-government organisations and the Government Departments that fund them must now decide whether to follow an abolitionist approach to migrant sex worker and trafficking, or to work from an evidence base of research and fund ongoing research and evaluation to measure the success of funded efforts.