Scarlet Alliance National Forum
The Scarlet Alliance National Forum is the annual national sex worker-only conference. It provides an opportunity for sex workers around so-called Australia to network, share information and resources, attend workshops, and make our voices heard. The National Forum is free to attend, including free catering. Current and former sex workers who support the Scarlet Alliance’s values and objectives are welcome. The National Forum is strictly sex worker only, and sex industry owners, operators and managers cannot attend and cannot become members of Scarlet Alliance. This includes sex workers who are current owners, operators or managers, or have control over another sex worker’s sex work.
What happens at National Forum
The National Forum is a chance for sex workers from all over so-called Australia to come together and talk about what is important to us. You can read our 2023 key issues paper developed from the 2022 national forum here. The National Forum is attended by around 100 sex workers from around so-called Australia (and sometimes internationally) and includes:
Updates from each state and territory: our member organisations report back on what they have been doing over the past year, and current issues for sex workers in their area. There is also a chance for questions from attendees.
Updates from our national members: our national member organisations, Debby Doesn’t Do It For Free and Touching Base, report back on their work over the past year and priorities.
Plenary sessions: these are “all in” sessions such as panels, presentations and consultation sessions. Past sessions include: Black, Strong and Sexy: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQA+ sex workers, Mind Yer Language – Challenging the Stigmatisation of Drug Users, a debate on rapid HIV testing, and Exploring “Happy Massage” Practice: Asian sex worker experience.
Concurrent workshops: this is when multiple workshops are run at the same time and you choose which one you go to. We put out a call-out for workshop applications in the lead up to the National Forum, so any sex worker can submit an idea! Previous workshops include: BDSM 101, life drawing, working with trans sex workers, astrology, working while unwell, financial discrimination, and sex worker histories.
The Annual General Meeting: this is a formal meeting of the membership of Scarlet Alliance to receive reports from the CEO, Committee and Treasurer on the organisation’s activities and financial position for the financial year (1 July to 30 June). This is also where the election results for the Committee are announced.
Party and Whore of the Year (WOTY) Awards: an evening where we can connect in a social space with music, dancing and drinks. The WOTY is an annual award for whores who have inspired us and contributed to sex worker rights. Nominations and voting is member only, so if you would love to nominate someone or vote please join Scarlet Alliance.
If you have an idea for a session you would like to run at National Forum, keep an eye out in the lead up for our call-out for submissions.
Sex worker-only space
The Scarlet Alliance National Forum is a sex worker-only space. This means that we ensure everyone who registers to attend the National Forum is a current or former sex worker, and only provide venue information to people once we have verified them. We require attendees to not share the location of the National Forum or other sex worker-only events to non-sex workers, including friends, family and partners; as well as ensuring any social media posts (including photos) do not reveal the location.
We want the National Forum to offer a sex worker-only space that is welcoming, engaging and supportive; a space where we care for one another and promote lively and productive debate. We want you to feel that you can be yourself and that differing opinions are valued and can strengthen our community. We are asking everyone to be proactive in creating a safer, sex work positive space where everyone is able to participate.
We are currently in the process of reviewing our organisation wide Safer Spaces Policy, and it will be publicly available when complete. You can also hear more about how we approach Safer Spaces in this video.