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Political party or lobby group? The dark side of the Australian Sex Party

“Vote for more sex!” Walking through the party pamphleteers to vote in Melbourne last week felt more like passing through a light-hearted student union ballot than a tightly contested state by-election…

Fiona Patten is President of the Australian Sex Party and CEO of sex industry lobby group the EROS Foundation. AAP/Julian Smith

“Vote for more sex!” Walking through the party pamphleteers to vote in Melbourne last week felt more like passing through a light-hearted student union ballot than a tightly contested state by-election. But while the Australian Sex Party (ASP) may sound like an undergraduate joke, there are compelling reasons to take the Sex Party seriously.

Indeed, a number of my colleagues have taken it so seriously that they have voted for the Sex Party. Looking at the recent campaign material, it’s not hard to see why. The ASP represents itself as a “civil liberties” party and it promotes ideas that have broad appeal - especially in left-leaning, inner-city seats like Melbourne - but are unlikely to appear in any major party’s suite of policies.

Some of the more publicised aspects of the ASP platform include, reform on drug law. Fair enough. An inquiry into the Myki debacle. Yes please. More public transport services at weekends. Great! A clearer separation between church and state. Amen.

The carefully selected policies that appear in Sex Party pamphlets, however, fail to mention what is at the centre of the party’s very being; a push for the full decriminalisation of prostitution. This would basically end the criminalisation of all forms of prostitution and make them free from any special government intervention.

From an outsider’s perspective, it may appear that decriminalisation is unnecessary in Victoria, which has one of the oldest systems of legalised prostitution in the world. But legalisation means regulation and the sex industry would rather have free rein to boost its profits. Scratch the surface and it is clear that the Sex Party is really just window dressing for a sex industry lobby group.

Essentially, the ASP is the political wing of the EROS Association, Australia’s national “adult retail and entertainment” association. And who is the president of the ASP? Fiona Patten. Patten is also CEO of the EROS Association. You might recognise her as the Sex Party candidate for the Melbourne by-election.

Patten helped make the real aims of the party quite clear in the lead-up to the election when she claimed that the ASP didn’t attempt a preference deal with the Greens because of concerns about an “anti-sex feminist element” in the party.

The “anti-sex” slur was most likely just a veiled reference to Kathleen Maltzahn, who served as a Greens local councillor in Yarra and stood as a Greens candidate in the 2010 Victorian state election.

Maltzahn is also a prominent anti-trafficking campaigner and founder of Project Respect. According to its website, Project Respect is a “non-profit, feminist, community-based organisation, that aims to empower and support women in the sex industry, including women trafficked to Australia”. Part of its vision is given as “a world where there is no longer demand for prostitution.” Now, why wouldn’t a sex industry lobby group be happy with that?

Many of my colleagues are quite shocked to hear about the intimate relationship between the Sex Party and the sex industry, but some persist with wilful ignorance.

In an article on the joys of the Sex Party on The Conversation, for example, Christine Steinmetz didn’t even feel the need to mention the EROS connection. That the commercial interests of the sex industry might occasionally clash with the pursuit of civil liberties, or other important things - like say, gender equality - is apparently unthinkable.

The fact that this is unthinkable, is a crucial point. The Australian discussion around the sex industry exists largely in a bubble where liberal notions of choice reign supreme. This creates an unusual climate where it is thought that, to be progressive, you must be sympathetic to an industry that principally relies on the buying and selling of women.

Elsewhere in the world, however, socialists, social democrats and other social progressives are moving towards understanding prostitution as a form of violence and as a barrier to women’s equality. In terms of legislation, this is epitomised by the Nordic Model, which criminalises the buying of sexual services, but decriminalises selling.

Despite mounting evidence that the Nordic Model is effective in curtailing prostitution and sex trafficking, it continues to be derided and dismissed in Australia. Earlier this year, for instance, the Kirby Institute at UNSW released a report on the sex industry in New South Wales, which claimed that the difference between the Nordic Model and full criminalisation (often favoured by conservative political regimes) may be “largely illusory”. It also trotted out the tired claim that criminalising the buying of sexual services automatically positions “sex workers as victims”.

Assertions such as these continue to fuel an odd situation in Australia. If, when talking about prostitution, you raise issues of exploitation or structural inequality – traditionally hallmarks of Marxist analyses – you get accused of being a right-wing moralist. It can feel as though people think liberalism is as far left as you can get.

But perhaps this constant bias shouldn’t be surprising in a country where the sex industry not only has its own political party but has also managed to con a bunch of academics, among others, into voting for it.

Join the conversation

105 Comments sorted by

  1. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    .Broadly I agree with this article - who would want the ASP holding the balance of power in the Senate? But I am a bit mystified by the enthusiasm for the Nordic model.

    Not so long ago we were slapping ourselves on the back for our sensible regulation of the sex industry . If they are legitimate businesses why criminalize either party, if they aren't why not penalize both?

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    1. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      "who would want the ASP holding the balance of power in the Senate?"

      Me... for one. I think the ALP, Greens and Labour for example far, far more dangerous then the ASP is or would be if it held sway.

      That aside, I too disagree with the "Nordic model". Criminalisation of the Sex Industry no matter how you dress it up is a nonsense. When will the those seeking to impose their twisted set of morals on others realise prohibition doesn't work. Look to the illicit Drug trade for any proof of…

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Trevor S

      The point the author was making, I think, that rather than a bona fide party with a true libertarian culture, it has a concealed agenda as a lobby group for the sex industry. I don't have strong opinions on the sex industry, but since we both know that both Labour and the Coalition would sell their own grandmothers to achieve government, a situation where the ASP had the balance of power might represent a situation where the ASP got to write the policy for regulation of this industry.

      The rest of their platform is just market tested smorgasbord that will appeal to as broad a range of voters as possible without ever having any concerns about having to deliver them.

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  2. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Thanks Meagan for a sensible comment on this issue. I particularly appreciate your emphasis on the peculiar position adopted by many people who seem to think that opposition to an unregulated sex industry, including pornography, equates to either wowserism or opposition to women's right to work. In general those adopting the latter position fail completely to engage in any sort of analysis of the social relations of production within the sex industry as if it is beyond criticism.

    This, in my…

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  3. David Rippingill

    logged in via Facebook

    I don't understand the point of this article. The whole substance seems to be that the view of being ethically opposed to prostitution creates problems in making a logical and valid argument against its existence.

    Never mind, its much easier to blame it all on bias.

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  4. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    Interesting you mention the Nordic Model. We're going through the "debate" (such as it is in Dictator Colin's Western Australia) regarding prostitution legislation.

    In Northbridge there was a significant "street walker" problem. Residents got together to take down the car details of "crawlers" and post them online I believe. Making the purchaser more accountable certainly seems to scare them off.

    Do you think we can get the WA Lib-Labs to think outside the law'n'order box???

    Meanwhile, the ASP/EROS are actively trying to frame the debate locally, much to the frustration of the only sensile people in the room; local councils that deal with the problem, the Police and the Greens.

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  5. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Excellent piece.

    I'd echo the comments of Anthony Nolan above.

    The "libertarian" elements of this Scarlet Alliance outfit are most dubious. On one hand it has the pretence and rhetoric of a sort of "union" agitating for the rights of sex-workers. But on the other it has deep connections into the existing industry and acts as an open apologist - denying that there is any issue with coersion, trafficking and criminals, while simultaneously arguing against any regulation or accountability…

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    1. Bruce Moon

      Bystander!

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter

      I share your sentiments - a good reply.

      I might add that the mercantilisation of 'values' has increasingly enabled social commentators the capacity to criticise the morality of (opposing) ideologies. Somehow, making a profit from an (im)moral activity is an effective double whammy (against).

      But, as Meagan writes, and you respond, claiming to have a meritorious ideological underpinning (here Libertarian) can leave one exposed to criticism when deleterious aspects are uncovered.

      For mine, I hold considerable dislike for the way the Labor Party practices Social Democracy, and the coalition neo-liberalism. Both use these ideologies as a platform to advantage sectional interests (over majority benefits). So, why should the Sex Party necessarily be held to account?

      Cheers

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  6. Bruce Waddell

    logged in via LinkedIn

    This is an important article because it attempts to uncover the connections and aversions of the ASP. Thank you.
    I was aware of the connections of the ASP with the EROS Association but unthinking about an organisation that unequally represented the bosses and the workers. Fiona Patten seems such a sensible woman it is difficult not to take her pronouncements seriously. The giggle value of the name ASP seems even less trivial when she speaks, and therein lies a problem exposed by this article.
    It is not wowserism to progress from the legislative conditions applied in Victoria to the Nordic Model. It has always seemed unfair to me that it is the women who carry the burden of illegality rather than their male clients. It is not a step we should be unwilling to make.

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  7. mitchell w. eddy

    Bartender

    Thanks for the article, the sex party has been able to get away jumping on board the 'freedom' train that neo-liberalism pedals.

    There are a number of very serious problems with these models which focus wholly on negative freedom (I should be able to do what ever I like) and positive freedom (there must be restraints in place in order for me to be free) (see Isaiah Berlin). The sex industry debate, which lumps anyone urging constraint in with the conservatives is another example of this.

    The Sex Party's idea of freedom - drugs, sex (rock and roll?) - is a lazy, decadent and misguided conception of an ideal which comes through a Hegelian dialectic between man and society, not only through the pursuit pleasure. Constraints are important, of course they need to be challenged, but I would not be trusting the Sex Party with any kind of constructive reform

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  8. Rodger Kensen

    Systems Analyst

    So this is a group that has sensible policies in most areas, with a not so secret agenda to allow prostitution to essentially be controlled by market forces and all that entails.

    Does that make them more or less scary than the Coalition or Labor with their not so secret agenda of allowing banks unfettered power to screw us?

    Across this planet the GFC has seen less penalties applied to bankers than almost any city in the world would have applied to prostitutes.

    It hardly seems fair since prostitutes at lest leave someone with a smile on their face.

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    1. Bruce Waddell

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Rodger Kensen

      I could agree with you if it wasn't for the fact I couldn't be sure the smile was a trade with both parties at liberty to refuse.

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    2. Rodger Kensen

      Systems Analyst

      In reply to Bruce Waddell

      That's a very fair assessment.

      My issue with the coercion argument is that I've seen a number of reports where Indian Chef's in this city were essentially kept as slaves, deprived of any liberty and forced to work.

      If we follow the same logic used in this discussion shouldn't we make restaurants illegal? Add to that mines, oil rigs, construction sites, the textiles industry, most markets... I could go on but you get the idea.

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    3. Bruce Waddell

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Rodger Kensen

      This is my last post on this thread because they usually become inane as they descend so I'll leave any further comment to others. But I cannot let your argument go uncontested. Apart from its cynicism it confuses low payment with freedom. Some women lose all freedom because of overlords. Some have it taken away because of human trade. Many lose that freedom to dependence to drugs. Whatever you say next cannot convince me that all sex trade is equal.

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    4. Rodger Kensen

      Systems Analyst

      In reply to Bruce Waddell

      The case in point was not a case of low payment, there were 2 Indian nationals who worked 16 hour days and spent their remaining 8 hours living in a cockroach infested dungeon with a filthy mattress for practically no pay. I perhaps muddied that point by mentioning other industries - but it far from an isolated incident, certainly if you include countries other than Australia.

      At no point do I naively say that the sex trade is equal (unless that part where i open with "that is a very fair assessment…

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    5. Eamon Vale

      eLearning Designer

      In reply to Rodger Kensen

      I generally agree with your comments Rodger (except for the joke, which was in bad taste). I too think that the answer to ridding society of a particularly exploitative industry is in addressing the social inequalities (both local and global) that present prostitution as the only option for poverty stricken and/or drug dependent women.
      I do not know enough about the 'Nordic model' to comment here but certainly regulation and government oversight is better than deregulation (true of any industry I would think) and I appreciate Meagan Tyler drawing a link between the political party and the lobby group.

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    6. Elena Jeffreys

      Sex Worker

      In reply to Bruce Waddell

      As a sex worker I find all of this discussion about us, without us, rediculous and theoretically flawed.

      The criminalisation of clients is materially the same as criminalising us as workers. The rhetoric may be different, but the policing outcome is patently the same. Raids on sex workers homes, workers losing their children in the courts, family members and lovers being charged with "pimping," loss of income, police in sex workers lives & workplaces and workers fearing the stigma and discrimination that comes with the whorephobia in Sweden.

      The Swedish Model is denounced by EVERY SEX WORKER GROUP IN THE WORLD.

      I can barely believe that The Conversation published this piece to be honest. And the moderation of the comments is basically non-existant.

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    7. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Elena Jeffreys

      I agree totally, Elena. Thanks for giving a voice to sex workers on this discussion thread. I think only one other sex worker has commented here.

      Are you/were you president of the Scarlet Alliance ... or involved in some capacity with SA? The reason I ask is that some commenters here have claimed that the Scarlet Alliance is a neoliberal / libertarian influenced lobby group for business owners in the sex industry. I found this quite a confounding allegation, since I clearly remember SA being all about the rights of sex workers when I was researching my book in the 1990s.

      Could you please comment on the allegation that SA is a neoliberal / libertarian lobby group for business owners?

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      I think they might have a bit of trouble answering that Elaine. I cannot find a single criticism of employers in the sex industry in Scarlet Alliance's public documents or statements - not even against the violent or abusive men who inhabit parts of the business. Rather, as those with some experience in the business claim, there is no problem.

      It's an industry association - not a union. Never has been, never will be. And it is founded on a notion that workers are free and autonomous agents.

      It seems to be based on denying patriarchal power, economic and physical domination that exists in society as a whole (but not in the sex business) and the limited power of some - arguably many - women in the business. One is too many.

      But according to this mob - everyone is free and the master or mistress of their own destiny. Everyone is consenting. Everyone is safe and happy. Amazing. Feminists? Really?

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  9. Meagan Tyler

    Lecturer in Sociology at Victoria University

    Thanks very much for all the comments.

    For those interested in following up on the Nordic Model, the "mounting evidence" link above will take you to a publicly available, academic article more fully explaining the model, the reasoning behind it, and the evidence (as well as debates about the evidence) that it has had an effect in Scandinavia.

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  10. Stilgherrian

    logged in via Twitter

    To characterise prostitution as "an industry that principally relies on the buying and selling of women" is disingenuous. The same could be said of any service industry where there are more women than men and a service is freely offered and billed for by the hour.

    Like public relations or kindergarten teaching.

    Oh how about babysitting, which is the buying and selling of high school students?

    Please, give me a break.

    Let's face it, the thing that makes this different — and the only thing…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Stilgherrian

      No the thing that makes this industry different is the history, the undeniable involvement of violent men and organised crime at a global scale.

      Now if those who claim to speak for the industry would come clean about this involvement and develop effective programs to get rid of it - accepting a level of government scrutiny and regulation - then I wouldn't have a problem with prostitution becoming the industry of choice if that's what people aspire to. Not much different to journalism I guess.

      But to fend off any intrusion of regulation on the basis that it is a fetter on the freedom of the industry, to deny the trafficking and coercion and violence is not an issue - is a strange position for a bunch who would, on most other issues, regard themselves as feminists, with a concern to protect those under the hammer.

      What next... campaigning against Apprehended Violence Orders?

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    2. Stilgherrian

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      That's a bit of a straw man there. I don't think anyone, EROS included, is campaigning for there to be no regulation. Indeed, an important part of EROS' lobbying efforts is to make a clear distinction between the legal sex industry — that which adheres to the laws and regulations — and the illegal.

      The sex industry already is regulated, and laws about violence in the workplace and other criminality apply just as with any other industry.

      If an illegal industry is still operating in parallel, when legal-industry lobbyists are already reporting illegal brothels to local councils etc, then the lack of follow-up isn't the sex industry's fault.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Stilgherrian

      Sadly Stilgherrian that is not the case ... the Scarlet Alliance - essentially a Sydney -based outfit as I understand it - does in fact campaign against any sort of intrusion by the state into the industry including criminal record checks or men involved in the industry and any form of licensing or regulation. They are specifically hostile to the Victorian regulatory framework. A very curious outfit indeed. Wish it was a straw man... all too real unfortunately.

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    4. Elena Jeffreys

      Sex Worker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thats just a lie.

      I have reported your comment as abuse because clearly no moderators read or check these comments.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elena Jeffreys

      Just a whiff of evidence Ms Jeffreys ... any comment by Scarlett Alliance in support of any probity checks on violent men owning or running brothels or in support of the Victorian regulatory system ... any will do...

      But don't accuse me of lying Ms J - not without evidence to back it up. Making stuff up just doesn't cut it here. So some references please to the regulations supported by Scarlet Alliance.

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  11. Andrew Malcolm

    Editor

    If a sex worker has a university degree does it change some of the assumptions in the debates?

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andrew Malcolm

      Only to suggest that there are a range of options available financially for that individual and that there is perhaps a greater element of choice for that individual - but not always.... smack and other addictions tend to reduce one's freedom to choose.

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  12. Anni Ceris

    Blogger

    I think it's just a wee bit of a stretch to suggest that the Australian Sex Party is shy or evasive about its policy positions on sex work and the sex industry. Those positions are detailed clearly on the ASP website, and, uh, the use of the word 'sex' in the party name is also a pretty big hint.

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Anni Ceris

      How dare you state the obvious, without obfuscating it polysyllabic jargon.

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  13. Lynne Newington
    Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    Many were surprised Family First Senator Steve Fielding sought a preference deal with them at the last election.
    Trying to come to terms with changes in society, was hard enough, without having him compromise their long held family values, which was fair enough.

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  14. Tabitha Sexworker

    logged in via Facebook

    This article is just an anti-sex-work article dressed up as political commentary. I'm not going to wade in to defend the Sex Party, because this is not what this article is actually about. What it is actually about is demonising those who work in the sex industry. And the 'Nordic' model is actually the widely criticised and discredited 'Swedish' model - read some excellent critiques on this and anti-sex-work feminist 'saviours' such as Meagan here: http://www.lauraagustin.com/

    Stop making money off our backs Meagan!

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    1. Meghan Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Tabitha Sexworker

      Nowhere in this article does Tyler 'demonize' prostituted women, Tabitha. She is critical of the sex industry. An industry that exists in order to service men. By and large it is men who profit off of the sex industry. Certainly it reinforces male power. The idea that it is writers or academics who are making money 'off the backs' of women is ludicrous. Get real. Your anger should be directed at the men who exploit and perpetrate violence against women. Not feminists.

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    2. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Meghan Murphy

      Sorry but to call sex workers "prostituted women" is in itself problematic as it denies sex workers agency and relegates them to victim status which is what you need to do to prop up your next assertions that the industry exists to service and profit men.
      And yes many sex workers do believe that there are a number of writers academics and politicians who fuel their careers on pushing the notion of prostituted women as victims of male violence who are in need rescue. In fact many sex workers feel so strongly about this that there is now a sex worker movement called Save Us from our Saviours

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    3. Meghan Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      It's only problematic to use the term prostituted women if you are intent on ignoring the inequity and harm inherent to prostitution. 'Sex worker' de-genders and pretends as though prostitution is simply a job option women choose outside of a context of patriarchy and capitalism. There may be agency at times but that doesn't mean that prostitution happens because of some kind of 'free choice'. I also use the term prostituted women because that is the term I was taught to use by exited women and First Nations women who refuse to pretend as though prostitution is simply a job like any other or that women are in prostitution because they simply enjoy providing sexual pleasure to a dozen strange men every day.

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    4. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Meghan Murphy

      We all choose our job options within the context of capitalism. You have little idea of the life of an average sex worker in Australia. A dozen strange men a day both emotive and incorrect. For most sex workers sex work is a job just like any other. I suggest you should maybe listen to sex workers who are telling you this or come work with us for a while and see for yourself.
      Btw sex worker is gender neutral because not all sex workers are cis female, many sex workers are cis male and a number also identify as trans*

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    5. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Presumably, Cameron, you are a sex worker and your views above represent your experience of work. However, I don't accept that your experiences are necessarily representative of a majority of sex workers who, in Sydney, tend to be NESB, Asian, female, non-residents on visas. You don't speak for them. Nor does Scarlet Alliance. No-one does. That's the problem.

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    6. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Hi Anthony yes I am a sex worker so can I ask you your experience of sex work and your evidence to back up your assertions?
      Especially that female migrant sex workers of non English are the majority of sex workers and the implication that they somehow have a different experience from other sex workers.

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Cameron,

      Did you read any of that evidence I sent you - that you asked for?

      This pollyanna view of prostitution is all rather unreal. Your experiences do not reflect the full sum of the realities faced by others. And, as Tony Nolan says, no one speaks for them at all. Some even deny they exist ... their colleagues. Some "union".

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    8. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Cameron,

      Well, I've been a customer of the sex industry. Does that count? Do you have a problem with that?

      It is easy to establish all of the above facts by visiting brothels and I've visited enough to be able to confidently assert that my profile of sex workers in Sydney as Asian etc and so on is accurate. I stopped going because I didn't think that it was ethically or morally acceptable to use the services of women who, I suspected, were or may have been slaves, victims of coercion or victims of economic inequality.

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    9. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Erk! Eek! Oh noes, no response from the pro sex worker. C'mon Cameron, tell me I'm wrong.

      Bluff called, dude.

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    10. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Hi Anthony, why the hell would I have a problem with you having been a client of sex workers.
      What I do have a concerns about is that being a customer doesn't make you an expert on the industry and considering that there are estimated 10,000 plus sex workers in Sydney I am wondering how many you visited ?
      Also as you only visited brothels you would not be qualified to form any opinion on the 50-60% of sex workers who don't work in brothels

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    11. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      I've had professional contact with sex workers while employed at an STD clinic as well as while being employed in child protection. As to sex workers outside brothels I've no comment. From my experience, however, and in the absence of reliable data to the contrary, I reckon my own observations are sufficient for an informed opinion. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother. Like Peter Ormonde I take the view that the industry is in need of regulation especially in regards to brothel owners being screened so that are pass a 'fit and proper person' test much like publicans. I also argue that regulating the sex business is of the same order as food preparation and handling or driving a bus. The sex business has no grounds to claim special exemption from state regulation.

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  15. David Skidmore

    Community Worker

    An interesting article with predictable criticisms. I find the sex industry gets a free pass from many people who regard themselves as leftists and anti-capitalists. The same people would never indulge the mining industry or the clothing industry (especially in the Third World - think Nike and Indonesian child labourers) the way they do the bosses and exploiters in the sex industry.

    I feel that leftists don't want to be seen as wowsers and don't want to be seen as anti-freedom of choice. But if people are free to prostitute themselves, then they are free to work in any unsafe environment or free to be exploited in domestic service or sweatshops. And so every human choice is beyond criticism and unionists or any critic of any industry is a meddling do-gooder.

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  16. Teflon Id

    logged in via Twitter

    Good grief, do you seriously think it is possible to remove the myriad physiological/biological, psychological, social, economic, familial and other factors that contribute to men paying for sex, and women providing it ? Even in prosperous countries where women have equal opportunities and access to education and employment, there will be some who choose sex work as a profession, and not necessarily to pay for drug use. How do you account for this ? Should they be ashamed of themselves…

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  17. Meagan Tyler

    Lecturer in Sociology at Victoria University

    Being against a war does not mean being against the troops. The left, broadly speaking, seem to understand this. Similarly, criticising systems of prostitution as exploitative does not equate to criticism of individual people working the sex industry.

    Basically, this article is about a clear conflict of interest that many people were not aware of. Should they have dug a bit deeper and actually looked up the party website? Yes. Did they? No.

    The anger some special interest groups have now responded to this exposure with speaks volumes.

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    1. Teflon Id

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      If you had attempted to address this issue objectively, then you might not have prompted such a rebuke. However, you have not just sought to highlight the ASP's links to the Eros Foundation, you have used this as a missive against the sex industry at large, replete with superficial generalisation and loaded descriptions.

      What war are you talking about ? A war against human trafficking ? Absolutely, bring it on. Shock and awe. Leave no stone unturned. But a war against demand for prostitution ? A war against women who would willingly meet that demand, even in the absence of structural inequality ?

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  18. Cameron Cox

    logged in via Facebook

    A lot of rubbish is being talked in these comments and most especially about Scarlet Alliance. Scarlet Alliance's constitution and objectives is available on the organisations website www.scarletalliance.org.au.
    Brothel owners are not allowed as members and have absolutely no involvement in Scarlet Alliance. To maintain otherwise is a falsehood.
    Scarlet Alliance does oppose regulation in the sex industry and promotes decriminalization as the best legal framework for sex work and sex workers. Its reasoning for this is well set out on its website.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Simple question Cameron: does Scarlet Alliance support the idea of screening brothel owners and operators for violence against women - in effect licensing those who operate or manage brothels to ensure men with a history of violence against women are prohibited from such operations?

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yep. So pubs too... anyone can run one?

      See Cameron we do actually regulate some businesses. We do impose conditions on running one. And we do so for good reason. Those reasons include an established history of violence and corruption associated with the industry. That means regulation, licensing and checks.

      Now I've had several discussions with representatives from Scarlett Alliance on these issues and I'm afraid to say they present ahistorical pollyanna view of how the ugly end of…

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  19. Cameron Cox

    logged in via Facebook

    You would need to direct that question to Scarlet Alliance for a specific answer.
    If you want my personal answer it is that I see decrimilistaion as the best legal basis for sex work and decriminlisation means that as well as sex work not being part of the criminal law it is also subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to other forms of work and activity.
    So if you feel that violence by people in management and ownership positions is a problem that requires a legislative or regulatory response such as screening I would support that response if you could show that such violence existed, that screening and regulation would prevent it and the screening was to be applied to all persons in all industries.

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  20. David Brown

    Public Servant

    Tyler is right in identifying the recent Melbourne by-election as context for this discussion. One the most interesting things about that election was the assumption by the Greens that they could win the seat by simply attacking the socal policy credentials of the Labor Party. However, as the European Greens have found with the Pirate Party, assuming "natural" support by the inner city professional is problematic. As a "class" they appear diverse and not easily harnessed. As Tyler says the Sex Party is the political wing of a lobby group whose views are opposite to the Greens. Any surprise that they didn't preference? Descriptions of "willful ignorance" aer .

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  21. Cameron Cox

    logged in via Facebook

    Hi Peter, I gave specific answers to the issues you raised but you have just skated past the questions I asked and raised a whole pile of side issues.
    So I ask again where is your evidence that the violence you assert exists actually exits, then where is your evidence that screening and regulation would actually improve the situation and prevent such violence and were is your evidence that this violence doesnt exist in other industries and only the sex industry needs regulation?

    .

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Ok Cameron - I'm sorry but you answered nothing. You directed me to the Scarlet Alliance. You then made some personal reflections on what you thought were the best options for decriminalising the industry. You then asserted that there was no evidence of violence or coercion .

      So you are saying that no woman in Australia ever gets bashed by a brothel owner, no one is subject to abuse or coercion and everything is rosey. That there is no evidence of trafficking or the involvement of organised…

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    2. Tom IH Rigby

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      I would characterise this article as an anti-prostitution polemic of the kind that does nothing to advance the situation of sex-workers and only serves to further marginalise discourse on this topic.

      Sex worker Rachel Wotton - star of the documentary Scarlet Road – gave a very interesting interview on a Melbourne community radio station a few weeks ago. I found her approach and her policy suggestions both convincing and inspiring.

      You can listen to the interview here:

      http://ondemand.rrr.org.au/player/128/201205271000

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    3. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, please go back and read what I wrote.
      I said none of the things that you atribute to me except that I believe that decriminilsiation is the best framework for sex workers and I did answer your question.
      You continue to make unsubstantiated assertions and bullying attacks with no evidence and no matter how many times you do this or how loudly you do it they will remain unsubstantiated assertions.
      So as you will not engage in proper debate on this matter as far as I am concerned this conversation is over.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Here are a few studies on violence in the sex industry Cameron:

      This is by far the most comprehensive single source... a bibliography compiled by the Institute of Family Studies: http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/research/trafficsexwork.php

      This study is particularly good: http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/pubs/issue/acssa_issues8.pdf

      The Australian Institute of Criminology ... Page 19 is useful:
      http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/4/3/6/%7B43630977-E669-46BD-ADCC-6B0766447C31%7DRPP36.pdf

      An…

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    5. Elena Jeffreys

      Sex Worker

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Peter I am familiar with all of the publications above and none of them support your argument.

      In face the AIFS research on sex work found the opposite of what you are proposing.

      Scarlet Alliance reference and cite these articles often; they support decriminalisation.

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    6. Elena Jeffreys

      Sex Worker

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      Peter continues to lie, misrepresent and defame the Australian Sex Workers Association on this page.

      I have reported his comments as abusive and await a moderator to try and treat the material on this page with the seriousness it deserves.

      The whorephobic & abusive tone of the article has, with The Conversations tacit support, created an environment where hate speech against sex workers, sex work policy and the sex worker movment is promoted, rewarded & encouraged. This is harmful to sex workers…

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    7. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Peter, but I have found nothing in any of these articles that supports your assertions re the screening of brothel owners and operators

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    8. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, this is an incredibly condescending and bullying comment and I too will report it as abuse. To characterise Ms Jeffreys as a "women professing to be a sex worker" and then as one who argues "in favour of men with violent criminal histories being permitted to run brothels" is misogynistic bullying.
      To then go further and misrepresent what they have said shows no respect for sex workers, their rights or this debate.

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      No Cameron you have it quite wrong.

      I have no respect for folks who act solely out of self-interest, who deny the reality of coercion and abuse suffered by some women at the hands of violent men in this industry, who do nothing about it, who lobby against any and all scrutiny that would drive them out - who, in fact, serve the interests of organised crime and violence against women. Yep I have no respect for that at all.

      Now find me some quote from Scarlet Alliance supporting any sort…

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    10. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      I'll post this link to an article by Dr Caroline Norma in the SMH, 2011:

      http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/its-time-to-get-serious-about-sex-trafficking-in-australia-20111012-1lkzi.html

      I reckon that Cameron and the other sex workers commenting on this thread are looking after their own interests which are distinct from and do not encompass the interests of trafficked Asian sex workers in Australia.

      It would be reasonable, I suggest, for some of you to comment that your own experience is not universally valid and that there may be issues for trafficked women that need addressing. Otherwise, it really does look l like a massive double standard operating here - one for whitefellas and another for no-name brand workers.

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    11. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, it's not so much a double standard as two completely different activities. It is just plain wrong to conflate slavery with sex work.

      Trafficking, slavery, indentured servitude, deprivation of liberty, assault, etc. are all illegal, as they should be, and as I have said elsewhere people involved in these kinds of acts should face fierce penalties.

      It's frustrating to see yet another pontificating academic, in this case Caroline Norma, misinforming readers that sex work and trafficking are "two sides of the same coin".

      Criminalisation drives the industry underground and if anything that makes workers more vulnerable to violence.

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    12. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Hi Elaine,

      Not three hundred metres from UTS I went to a brothel, on many occasions, in which I ...err...found and fucked asian sex workers who had bruises, fresh cigarette burns and other quite obvious signs of physical abuse., I felt stomach sick that my desire was enmeshed with abuse. So I stopped. None of them had even reasonable English. Some of them were young, at the margins of legal, but I always checked as best I could that they were not legal minors. I don't have a lot of confidence that other Aussie blokes were so concerned.

      Otherwise I really don't know what to say. I don't agree that all is well within the sex business and my own experience was sufficient to convince me that it was bad karma for me. The evidence is that international sex trafficking is equal to the arms trade and the drug trade in dollar terms.I think that it is naive to imagine that Australia is somehow not part of this global dirty business.

      Cheers.

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    13. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, I can’t work out if you’re making this stuff up or if you’re actually stupid enough to confess in an online post to - what according to your account sound like - multiple counts of rape, repeated sex with girls you suspected were minors and paying for sex with women you could clearly see had been physically abused and perhaps tortured. It beggars belief that you didn’t immediately bolt in disgust and call the police; no, you went back to the same place “on many occasions” to “find and fuck Asian women” that a bag of hammers could have told you were sex slaves. Well, Anthony, if you don’t have the intelligence and integrity to report this place to the police, then I will. Expect to be contacted by the authorities. Then tell them exactly what you’ve told us.

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    14. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Well, Elaine, so far as the law in NSW stands I didn't break it.

      How's that?

      And if you reckon I'm going to call down a shower of shit on my own head by walking into a NSW cop shop and making a complaint to the desk sarge about the conditions of employment of hookers then you've rocks in your head. I'd be liable to be canned for the night on grounds of being a trouble maker.

      So, as I suspected, when confronted with the truth of the situation it is the advocates of a free market, neoliberal approach to the sex business who are the real wowsers here. Don't sit in moral judgement on me, miss, because I did no more than what you advocate which is pay for a root in unregulated conditions.

      Talk about shoot the messenger.

      Take a walk up Paramatta Rd, shell out some money and get the sort of education that UTS cannot provide you.

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    15. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Actually the AFP has a very well funded division to which any information such as this should be reported 131 AFP and calls can be anonymous so I suggest if you have such information you immediately report it

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    16. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      That's right Anthony ... bring in the AFP and immigration and the long arm of the law ... but don't bother ringing Scarlet Alliance or anyone else claiming to act for sex workers - they'll just tell you it's not happening, not important, not them or their friends.

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    17. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      I don't see Peter's comments as bullying or abusive but those accusing him do seem to be both bullying and abusive.

      Instead of answering his questions.

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    18. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, if you didn’t break the law, then why were you afraid to go to the police? Alternatively, why didn’t you ring the police anonymously from a pay phone and tell them what you saw and where you saw it?

      See, Anthony, instead of doing something, you did nothing. In fact, you did worse than nothing. You did the unthinkable by going back to the same hell hole “many times” to “find and fuck Asian women” as you so eloquently put it. I think it speaks volumes that even now you can’t help littering…

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    19. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Actually, thanks to CAMERON for the AFP info.

      Peter, now that I've read your post more carefully, it's hard to fathom the venom you repeatedly vent at the Scarlet Alliance. Right off the scale.

      The Scarlet Alliance doesn't just "claim to act for sex workers", they do it. I saw them do it for years while I was researching the sex industry and I have no reason to believe that their mission has changed. As for the claim that the Scarlet Alliance is a lobby group for sex industry business owners, that looks for all the world like a complete fabrication now.

      I can understand you disagreeing with one of their policy positions, if you think it doesn't actually serve the interests of workers. But to imply that the organisation isn't committed to acting in the interests of workers, or that they completely ignore trafficking and violence against sex workers, is disingenuous and defamatory.

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    20. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      You misunderstand Elaine ... Scarlet Alliance acts for SOME sex workers - only some... but the organisation does nothing for the most vulnerable women in the business.

      There have NO POLICIES whatsoever regarding violent men in the industry, no policies regarding sex trafficking. They act for the "Industry" ... warts and all .. and Elaine these are pretty big warts in my book. Yet according to them, according to the Camerons, there is no evidence of violence or trafficking - nothing that would…

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    21. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Well Elaine I hope you feel better having got that little rant of your heaving, outraged chest. I planned ahead in this discussion realising that I would inevitably be accused of failing to do the right thing by blowing the whistle and rushing off to the Feds and so on. The Feds, by the way, in whom I've no faith at all given their inability to locate a wanted people smuggler working as a trolley pick up man in a Canberra suburb. Don't talk to me about the Feds. So I'm not distressed or cowed by…

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    22. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      The sheer righteousness of Cameron's social hygienist approach is a wonder to behold.

      Do you carry a business card with the AFP trafficking number on it Cameron, to dole out to people in need?

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    23. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Oh, I just noticed the comment about "expect to be contacted by the authorities". I'll hold my breath in anticipation.

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    24. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It has been asserted above that Scarlet Alliance has “NO POLICIES whatsoever regarding violent men in the industry, no policies regarding sex trafficking”. fairly surprising as their website has pages of info on both subjects.
      On sex trafficking I would refer to http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/issues/migrant-workers/ and http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/issues/migration/ or maybe a quick google of the words “Scarlet Alliance” and “trafficking” which returns pages of results including their being…

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    25. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      The estimate of 1,000 trafficked sex workers per year comes from a paper by the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. Difficult to estimate - true - but the authors had "no difficulty" in finding 50 trafficked sex workers during each week of their study. http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/pubs/briefing/b5.html

      As suggested I had a look at this business lobby's web site and found the Scarlet Alliance submission to the Attorney Generals on Trafficking ... sorry "people perceived to be affected…

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    26. Cameron Cox

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for the reference for http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/pubs/briefing/b5.html. The numbers I assume come from the 2004 study as the paper was published in 2005. First that study is pretty well discredited, second its out of date and third it doesnt give a figure of 1,000 per year it gives a much higher figure when you do the actual calculations.
      As to the rest I am surprised that you managed read through all the references and links on the Scarlet website in just 2 hours. Well done except that…

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    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Cameron Cox

      You are of course correct Cameron, I did not read through the entire Scarlet Alliance website in 2 hours. It is unnecessary and I can find more to do with my time than read the same chanting "solution" again and again.

      And the "solution" is always the same - decriminalisation and deregulation - total and complete. No special laws for sex workers or the industry. So while my bus driver is licensed, my doctor qualified, our timber workers ticketed, the sex industry demands no such social scrutiny or oversight... it is a special case indeed.

      Face it Cameron, Scarlet Alliance is a mouthpiece for the industry - just like the local Chamber of Commerce or the Institute of Property Developers - sectional, special and self-interested, with concerns only for their own benefit and well-being. And we listen to their special pleading - for "the good of us all" - at our peril.

      Society has bigger interests than yours alone. Hard to imagine isn't it?

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    28. Lev Lafayette

      Systems and Quality Analyst, Project Manager

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The Scarlett Alliance is a mouthpiece for workers, not business owners. The fact that they may have a similar solution on criminalisation vs regulation vs decriminalisation should indicate the veracity of the claim. It is actually not unusual for business-owners and workers in an industry to sometimes be in agreement.

      As for the qualifications you mention, these are specialist tasks. Bus drivers have licenses, because they drive buses. Doctors have licenses because they are curing medical pathologies.

      So, just to be clear. are you arguing that sex workers should be licensed as well? And if so, what licensing test are you suggesting? Perhaps you think there could adult education centres for such qualifications? A Certificate IV in Sex Work perhaps?

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    29. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lev Lafayette

      I doubt TAFE would be able to find sufficient teachers for the immense pent-up demand for such a course. Would that it were so and some degree of expertise and at least well-feigned enthusiasm was able to be taught. The exams would be a blast.

      No I'm actually talking about the men and women who manage or own brothels... no criminal convictions involving violence or coercion... simple as that. Simple thing to do, inexpensive and hardly an onerous impost on this most profitable industry.

      But…

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  22. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Would you rather a government so dependent on the votes of Family First that they are screwing parliamentary safeguards and imposing a particularly odious version of Christianity on all schoolchildren throughout Australia?

    This tearing down of the proper separation of religion and state has been connived by both major parties. Where does a voter go who opposes this imposition of religion by government but is wary of The Greens for whatever reason?

    Where to for a voter who opposes increased censorship at a time when both major parties are snivveling for the support of Family First?

    Perhaps the promises of the Sex Party are a mirage in the desert that is Australian politics 2012, but who can blame people for staggering towards that mirage?

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    1. Moira Clarke

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Harland

      Where to? Try the Secular Party.

      The Secular Party was the first Australian political party based on the separation of church and state. It has all the good stuff that you like about the ASP, without the Eros foundation. And not a 'mirage'.

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  23. Paul Maginn

    Assoc Professor of Urban/Regional Planning at University of Western Australia

    Several quick points:

    The "full decriminalisation of prostitution" as advocated by Scarlet Alliance and other sex worker-based groups does NOT mean that "all forms of prostitution" would be free from any special government intervention".

    Scarlet Alliance clearly state on their website that "[o]ccupational health and safety and other workplace issues can be supported through existing industrial laws and regulations that apply to any legal workplaces". In addition, they argue that sex work…

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  24. Elaine McKewon

    Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

    It is a patently false claim that the sex industry is "an industry that principally relies on the buying and selling of women". What a hopelessly inaccurate description of the transactions that sex workers negotiate with their clients: being paid for a service in the sex industry is not “selling yourself” any more than it is in other workplaces. The “buying and selling of women” claim plays into the hands of a paternalistic, holier-than-thou bourgeois prejudice that has been handed down from one…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Actually from reading the comments here and the article I cannot see anyone actually proposing that prostitution be "recriminalised" -no one is talking about penalising the women and men who work in the industry - Elaine. But that is not to say that the industry should not be regulated in any way whatsoever, that what coercion there is should be ignored or tolerated, or that men with a violent criminal history against women should be allowed to own or operate brothels.

      Probity checks on men associated with the industry is a necessary precondition for the safety of the workers. To deny that this is necessary is simply libertarian nonsense and is to my mind a rather sinister position.

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    2. Helen Pringle

      Senior Lecturer at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      How wonderful it would be if we academics could actually read the argument being made, instead of making out that Meagan is arguing for something she is not. The point of the article is not to impose "a paternalistic, holier-than-thou bourgeois prejudice" (whatever that means) on women who work in the prostitution and pornography industry, and it is not to criminalise women, or to lead to their criminal convictions. This type of misinformation is typical of the prostitution industry's propaganda against the Swedish/Nordic model. The Nordic model criminalises the purchase of sexual subordination, it very deliberately does not criminalise the sellers of sex – because it is opposed to the subordination not to the subordinated women. There's a lot of material on the Swedish law on the internet, but it would be a shame to actually read it, no? Might learn something.

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    3. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Helen Pringle

      “The Nordic model criminalises the purchase of sexual subordination, it very deliberately does not criminalise the sellers of sex – because it is opposed to the subordination not to the subordinated women.” Sexual subordination? Subordinated women? I don’t think you understand my premise, Helen. The whole point of my post is to put paid to the notion that sex workers are subordinated in the first place. You need to look carefully at the Nordic model because it is a model of criminalisation. So what…

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      So in this wonderful industry filled with neoliberal agency and autonomy is it OK to have men with violent criminal histories owning and managing brothels? Just curious.

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    5. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      No, Peter, I never said that there should be no regulation of the industry whatsoever. I said that decriminalisation was the preferred option to legalisation because the one model we have of legalisation of the sex industry in Australia (Victoria) resulted in the situation where only wealthy men were able to purchase licenses to operate brothels (see original post).

      Background checks are a common feature in many industries - for example, if you want to open a locksmith company, or even work for…

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      My "fixation" as you put it Elaine arises from having known several women who were in the situation you describe, who had been effectively trafficked into Australia and abused and intimidated into the industry. Not much agency at all for them.

      Anyway I am glad that you accept the general principle that those involved in the industry should be subject to probity checks and that those with a violent criminal history should be excluded. This puts you some distance from Scarlet Alliance, in that…

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    7. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Peter, it looks like we’re pretty much on the same page, although I think it's important to view the current problem with coercion and intimidation as being related to slavery rather than sex work per se.

      I can’t really comment with any authority on the Scarlet Alliance being an industry lobby group, but I can tell you they were nothing of the sort during my previous dealings with them in the 1990s, during my research for The Scarlet Mile. In fact, they were widely considered ‘ratbag’ radical workers rights organisations.

      And thanks for your comment on my thesis!

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    8. Meghan Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      Women 'choose' prostitution because they have no other choice, because they need to survive, because they are addicted, because they are racialized, because they are poor, and because they are women. Most women are prostituted before they are 'adults' so this 'consenting adults' defense is garbage. Women deserve REAL choices, they deserve to be able to live in this world without having to resort to prostitution. That's what the Nordic model is about. Men do not have the right to buy women. What kind of men buy sex from poor, addicted, homeless women? Abusive men. Those men deserve to be criminalized because the human rights of women are more important than their dicks.

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    9. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Meghan Murphy

      And "feminist" writers wonder why I say they are playing into the hands of paternalistic, holier-than-thou bourgeois prejudices towards sex work that have been handed down from one generation to the next unchallenged.

      Meghan, your entire diatribe against sex work is misinformed, patronising and insulting - as if adult women are too stupid to make their own decisions regarding their own lives. It’s exasperating to hear the tired old false claim that women cannot possibly choose freely to work in…

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    10. Meghan Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Elaine McKewon

      You were clearly very, very selective about the women you chose to speak with, systematically ignoring the voices and experiences of the many exited women who speak out against the misogyny that is prostitution. Women are not stupid, no, they simply don't have real choices in a unequal society. The fact that you are confused about the reference to the racism that is deeply ingrained in prostitution, that you completely ignore the fact that many women are prostituted as children or come from abuse, and that you refuse to acknowledge poverty and addiction as factors, leads me to believe that you are, in fact, the one who is 'misinformed'. You are talking over the voices and lives of women in an effort to pretend away inequality. It's offensive.

      You might find this article useful: http://feministcurrent.com/5590/a-history-of-oppression-canada-colonialism-and-prostitution/

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    11. Elaine McKewon

      Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Meghan Murphy

      That’s right, Meghan. I was “clearly very, very selective” when I interviewed hundreds of sex workers. Unlike you, of course, who listens to feminists and activists but not sex workers … no selectivity there. And when I included lengthy interviews with former sex workers in my book, The Scarlet Mile, I was of course “completely ignoring the voices and experiences of exited women”. Ouch. Got me again.

      Does it occur to you that your pontifications and racial profiling of the sex industry might just…

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    12. Ramona Loren

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Meghan Murphy

      Meagan,

      Women also CHOOSE sex work for a multiple of reasons that have nothing to do with a lack of choice. To use the age old setero-type that modern women enter prostitution because they are drug addicted or somehow destitute shows an immense ignorance, that in my opinion, discredits your work. Sex work is not exclusive to women, let alone poor, exploited women. Please do not ignore the many male and transgender sex workers.

      Please listen to what actual sex workers have to say about our profession. We might just have some insight into how things actually are.

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  25. Taylor Alexander

    Sex worker

    As a sex worker with two seperate qaulifications who dosnt have a drug addiction. Is not beaten or abused. Whom made a sane logical choice to start a career in this industry i think i can weigh in on this discussion.

    If you guys are going to go to illegal brothels because you are seeking cheap fun, you are definately going to find those situations and stop trying to kid everyone else on here.... if you fund those places you are the reason they exsist.
    I personaly would report any situation that included child pornography,slavery,and any abuse of a sexual nature of imigrants.
    I talk on a daily basis with other sex workers and men who use their sevices throughout australia.
    Men,couples and women make up people who pay for sexual service's. Not the creepy dirty men that writers would make you believe.

    As a private escort you would think that i would have a high incidence of trouble ,well folks sorry to burst your expectations but i dont have any

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Taylor Alexander

      No expectations Taylor, in fact I think your experience of the business is quite normal ,.. most violence is visited on street workers from clients and other men actually. However, there are sections of the business that are a lot nastier and more violent and abusive. Some of this involves trafficking and coercion.

      I have no problem with anyone deciding freely to make money in a way that doesn't hurt anyone else. But I have huge problems with men who use violence to overpower vulnerable women…

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  26. Lev Lafayette

    Systems and Quality Analyst, Project Manager

    1. "The carefully selected policies that appear in Sex Party pamphlets, however, fail to mention what is at the centre of the party’s very being; a push for the full decriminalisation of prostitution. This would basically end the criminalisation of all forms of prostitution and make them free from any special government intervention."

    This is a falsehood, and easily disproved. The centre of the Sex Party's policies is their mission statement. Further to the mission statement, the Party does not…

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  27. Madeleine McCormack

    logged in via Facebook

    I assume you are referring to Sweden's International Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights? While widely recognised as being world's best practice in this field with UK and Norway adopting many of its recommendations, it has still faced significant criticism from sex workers. The Swedish SRHR Policy dictates that clients and 'pimps' ought to be prosecuted, not prostitutes. However, leasing an apartment to a prostitute can constitute pimping/running a brothel. As a result, prostitutes…

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