Scarlet News:

“Oldest profession remembers dangerous past before decriminalisation” 24 Nov 2010

Nov 21, 2010 | Media release, News

Sex workers celebrate coming of age in the parliament house thatgranted bipartisan reprieve from police corruption. Sex Workers andsupporters from around Australia meet to remind government thatdecriminalisation works. Four generations of speakers tell of lifebefore and after decriminalisation in NSW.

What: Media panel, Interviews & Photo Opportunitywith historic figures of the sex worker rights movement.

When: 1pm, Wed 24 November

Where: NSW Parliament House Media Briefing Room, L6, follow the red umbrellas!

"Today we honour those who came before us, fighting the doomsayers whosuggested the world would cave in as a result of decriminalising sexwork," Janelle Fawkes, Scarlet Alliance CEO said today. "Moresuccessful than Victoria and Queensland, where a large percentage ofthe industry is still underground, NSW leads the world alongside NewZealand, in effective regulation of the Sex Industry. The NSW modelhas higher compliance than other states and territories, excellentpublic health outcomes, is low cost to the community and governmentand provides improved Occupational Health and Safety outcomes for sexworkers."

Four generations of sex workers compare their lives before and afterdecriminalisation

Sex work veterans including Carmen, Roberta Perkins and Julie Bateswill be speaking on the sex industry in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.Lest we forget why sex work was decriminalised in NSW; the bad olddays of criminalisation are behind us and we congratulate sex workersand Government for making it work. Scarlet Alliance Vice PresidentAlly Daniel will be urging sex workers to continue the fight againstbad laws and for anti-discrimination coverage for sex work – in NSWand across Australia!

Sydney icon Carmen says:

"I was there alright, from 1959 through the ’60s, another whole timeand era. They were very heavy the cops, took money off us. Youcouldn’t escape the police, they would give you a bad hiding, oncethey threw me in jail for a week. Most of these cops and mafia guysfrom Kings Cross at that time are all dead now. But I live on to tellmy story, the last of the living legends of Kings Cross. I was 19years old then and now in my 70s. Its better for workers now."

Sociologist Roberta Perkins

“The 1970s started with horrendous criminalisation and policing of sexworkers, but by 1979 the first stages of decriminalisation had begun –held even today as model sex industry legislation worldwide. This is aprime example of a humanitarian approach to the sex industry; sex workis simply an occupation and should be treated like any other.”

Founding member of Australian Prostitutes Collective Julie Bates:

“We have come a long way from crooked cops, pay-offs, being treated ascriminals and living and working in fear and isolation. Before theworld celebrated decriminalisation in 1995, you never knew whetheryou’d end the night in the lock up or be home to pay the baby sitter.If you couldn’t pay the bribe your number was simply up.”

Ally Daniel, Vice President, Scarlet Alliance:

“On this day we celebrate the 21st birthday of Scarlet Alliance andrecognise we have achieved so much. No longer are we, as sex workers,the pariahs of society. Anti-discrimination legislation,decriminalisation in other states, along with sex worker input intoHIV and Trafficking policy and funding are all still on our agenda in2010. The next 21 years will see sex work further legitimised and putwhorephobia in the same basket as racism, sexism and homophobia.”

Decriminalisation of Sex Work Facts:

  • A recent three state study demonstrated sex workers in NSW have lowrates of STIs when compared to sex workers within other regulatorymodels (NCHECR, LASH Study, 2010)
  • Decriminalisation has not caused either expansion or shrinkage ofthe industry however competition drives brothel lobbyists to frame noncompliance as high and increasing.
  • There is still no recorded case of HIV transmitted between sexworkers and clients
  • sex workers STI rates are still lower than the general community
  • Cost of decriminalisation is low compared with other states( – Annual reports demonstrate registration has costover $6,000,000.00.
  • Brothel compliance within a decriminalised regulatory framework ishigh compared with other models ( – Queensland afterten years has only 25 legal brothels).
  • Local councils can take a proactive approach and include sex workpremises in their LEP