Since the 1980’s sex worker peer education in Australia, led by the peak body for sex workers Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, and its sex worker organisation membership, has worked on cross-cultural, multilingual and trans-national project-based approaches to the health and human rights of migrant sex workers in Australia, in partnership with Government. This week the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor and Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek announce the newest chapter of the community partnership.
Scarlet Alliance has been granted $350,000 over a three year period to implement an evidence based migrant sex worker project. This is the second grant of its kind, and continues specific work begun by Scarlet Alliance in 2009. Project work to date has included the production and translation of information about visas, sex worker rights, a guide to rights and responsibilities when dealing with Australian government agencies and sex work laws in Australia, for distribution to sex workers of Thai, Chinese and Korean language backgrounds. The new grant will continue to support capacity development of sex worker peer educators in Australia, to enhance service delivery to migrant sex workers. This grant includes a partnership with Empower Foundation, the Thai sex worker organisation, to increase Thai sex workers understanding of legal and safe migration pathways to Australia.
"Access to reliable, culturally appropriate information made for and by sex workers is an evidence based approach to trafficking prevention," Elena Jeffreys, Scarlet Alliance President said today. "Our project work is led by sex workers, with a steering committee of sex workers of Thai, Chinese and Korean language backgrounds, in partnership with sex worker organisations in the region. Scarlet Alliance recognises that migrant sex workers are best placed to determine the best response to issues that effect them. This is a best practice approach; recognising sex work as work, and sex workers as the experts in our work. "
"Sex work is decriminalised and legitimate work in Australia," Elena Jeffreys concluded. "Evidence shows that trafficking is not a characteristic of sex work in Australia. Trafficking-like work conditions can be prevented but only when supported by evidence based policy.”