Scarlet News:

“Working Girls to have no minders” 11th October 2005, Alison Andrews, Tasmania Examiner

Oct 16, 2005 | News

Prostitutes working in pairs will not be able to use a receptionist or employ a security guard for protection under amendments to the Sex Industry Bill proposed by Attorney-General Judy Jackson. Ms Jackson said yesterday that the changes to the bill were necessary to get it through the 15-member Upper House, where the Government could only be assured of five votes.

It was the first time that Ms Jackson had been contactable since her surprise announcement last week that the sex industry legislation would be tightened up rather than liberalised with her amendments to the bill.

The amendments, which would force police to shut down brothels, prompted an angry reaction from the State’s brothel owners, who fear a return to draconian days of drug dealers working prostitutes on the streets, in parks and cars.

But Ms Jackson said that working in a brothel did not give prostitutes security.

"That’s why we want to regulate it (the industry)," she said yesterday. "But because we can’t regulate it, we’re making it illegal."

"I don’t think working in a brothel in Tasmania guarantees you any security at all. We know that there is a drug problem in brothels. We know that there is intimidation in brothels. We know that there are people under 18 working in brothels, I don’t think that’s a secure environment."

"That’s why I wanted to regulate it so we did have the secure environment but because we couldn’t get it through the Upper House, it is not possible."

Under Ms Jackson’s proposed amendments, two sex workers will be able to work together instead for security reasons but without any other support workers.

She said that was what many workers involved in the Government consultative process several years ago had wanted.

Scarlet Alliance spokeswoman Jenelle Fawkes said that Ms Jackson’s amendments would do away with choice and push the industry underground.

The Tasmanian spokesman for the national sex workers’ group said that when options like brothel work were closed off, people worked illegally.

"Tasmania has always had brothels, there are only three in Launceston for goodness’ sake," she said.

"In Western Australia, where it is illegal to run a brothel, there are more than 30 operating."

Tasmanian Examiner, 11 Oct 2005