SA: Blow for rights

Zweli Mokgata
Thursday, 17 Mar 2011

Sex workers are protected by one law but can be prosecuted under another.

After a recent court ruling, sex workers now enjoy protection under the Labour Relations Act. However, they can still be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act for plying their trade.

The case that brought about this situation is related to a 2006 incident involving a sex worker referred to as “Kylie” who alleged that she was unfairly dismissed by the owner of the brothel where she worked.

In October last year Judge Dennis Davis of the labour appeal court , citing the constitutional right to fair labour practice, found that the council for conciliation, mediation & arbitration (CCMA) could indeed hear Kylie’s grievance, which led to an undisclosed settlement. Continue reading

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NO: Federal lawsuit challenges sex offender registration for prostitutes

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 12:03 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 1:20 PM
By Laura Maggi, The Times-Picayune

People who must register as sex offenders because they were convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex for money filed a lawsuit against state officials last night, arguing the requirement is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Only in Louisiana can people convicted of selling their bodies be required to register as a sex offender, according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights. The plaintiffs include several women from New Orleans and the surrounding areas, as well as transgender women and a man.

The registration requirement only affects people prosecuted under the state’s crime against nature by soliciation law, which is used when a person is accused of engaging in oral or anal sex in exchange for money. People accused of prostitution, which includes any sex act, are not required to register. Continue reading

Senior police officer calls for review of law on prostitution

Press Release

Senior police officer calls for review of law on prostitution
The International Union of Sex Workers
Tuesday 28th December 2010 Immediate Release

Contact: Catherine Stephens on 07772 638748 or Amy on 07510 575903

The IUSW welcomes the statements by ACPO’s lead on prostitution and sexual exploitation, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne, that it is time to look again at the laws around prostitution.

Law surrounding the sex industry are complex, confusing and ineffective in targeting harm. In fact, it makes sex workers’ lives more dangerous. There are already general laws to target violence, coercion and abuse, which sex workers are prevented from accessing through fear of the police, as there is an inherent contradiction between the police roles of protection and prosecution.

3,000-22,000 of the estimated 80,000 people who sell sex in the UK do so on street and are criminalised under the Street Offences Act of 1959 if they loiter or solicit; the Sexual Offences Act 1985 penalises kerb-crawling. The Policing & Crime Act 2009 tweaked existing legislation: the requirement for persistent behaviour by kerb-crawlers was removed and a definition of “persistence” for soliciting or loitering was given: twice in three months. That gives this profoundly vulnerable group of women the opportunity to have contact with the police four times a year without fear of arrest.

Over the past 50 years, this legislation has entirely failed to solve the problems associated with street prostitution. The most “successful” outcomes, resulting from expensive long term enforcement, are displacement (for example, street sex workers moved to Norwich as a result of increased police action in Ipswich).

Indoors, it is possible to work entirely legally, but the only way to be free of the risk of prosecution is to work for yourself in complete isolation. Two people working together fulfils the legal definition of a brothel, so the law builds in isolation at the most fundamental level; the owner or tenant is liable to up to 7 years imprisonment.

“Controlling for gain” – legislation on “pimping” – explicitly includes people who are working of their own free will and covers almost every way of working with or for a third party.

Prosecution requires no evidence of coercion, violence or abuse; there have been several recent successful prosecutions where it was accepted in court that the defendant offered a safe, fair and honest working environment to women who freely chose to be there.

Likewise, our legal definition of trafficking fails to meet the standard of either the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking (commonly called the Palermo Protocol) or the Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking. It refers to knowledge and intent, not coercion, deception or abuse.

Catherine Stephens, activist with the International Union of Sex Workers says, “The law doesn’t just fail to target violence and exploitation, it actually facilitates it. Would we be safer working together? Yes. Is that legal? No.”

A community’s worth is measured by the way it treats the most vulnerable. It is time to treat people who sell sex with respect and to prioritise our rights and safety. It is time to decriminalise sex work so people who sell sex have the full protection of the law.

——-

The Nation: Students and Sex Work

“After doing massage therapy for a while, I am now working as an escort full-time. I see two to three clients a day. Seventy-five per cent of my clients are kinkier and twenty-five per cent want vanilla sex or massage with orgasms.”

This is how a Canadian male student, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes how he started to consider sex work earlier this year to raise funds to attend a midwifery school in New Zealand. As a massage therapist working in Vancouver (one of Canada’s most liberal cities) who identifies as “sex positive” and sexually experimental, he found the transition to working as an escort “pretty natural.”

“Students who are considering sex work need to be extremely conscious of their safety.”
-Trina Ricketts, founder of nakedtruth.ca

“The work is what you make it,” he says. “I find it really rewarding to help clients explore their sexuality.” Continue reading

CalOSHA Sez: Almost All Adult Movies Are Non-Compliant

Posted Jun 29th, 2010 06:07 PM by Mark Kernes

LOS ANGELES—Those who showed up at the Cal/OSHA Advisory Meeting on Bloodborne Pathogens in the Adult Film Industry today expecting a discussion of whether condoms should be mandated in adult movies were in for a surprise: According to both Cal/OSHA inspector Deborah Gold and agency attorney Amy Martin, condoms are already required for sex scenes, and any production that doesn’t use them is breaking the law.

“I’d just like to make something very clear,” Gold said at one point. “Right now, the standard mandates the use of condoms, so people who have come here and think that we’re arguing about whether we’re going to mandate the use of condoms need to understand that the current status quo is Continue reading

AU: Attorney General challenges anti-prostitution lobby

Thursday, 17 June 2010
Prostitution will always be around and it is impossible to police a blanket ban, Attorney General tells community forum

By Anthony Barich

WA Attorney General Christian Porter has turned the debate on legalising brothels on its head, challenging anti-prostitution advocates to come up with a better solution than his planned legislation to restrict brothels to “entertainment zones”.

While conceding prostitution is “morally objectionable”, a blanket law criminalising it is unenforceable and legislation that permits it in specific zones is the only feasible solution, Mr Porter told a community forum in Belmont on 8 June.

“I do believe that you have to have some kind of level of prostitution which is permitted, strictly regulated for the health and safety of the people in it, because of the fact that it has always existed and because of the fact that we have not been successful over successive decades in stopping it, notwithstanding a law which says it shouldn’t exist anywhere,” Mr Porter told a forum of over 100 at Belmont’s RSL Club. Continue reading

SWEDEN: Women are not children – remember? Flawed ideas about improving the sex-purchase law

From The Other Swedish Model
Gender, sex and culture, by Laura Agustín

Much of my work revolves around prostitution law, sex worker rights and the cultural study of commercial sex: see Border Thinking, where I blog several times a week. I wrote the following piece after some people in Sweden welcomed a parliamentarian’s suggestion that Sweden change to a regulatory regime that comes from the 19th century.

Does sexköpslagen, the law against buying sex, work or not? Everyone wants to know. Camilla Lindberg is right that talking about the possibility that the law does not work is taboo in Sweden. The government’s official evaluation of the law has been delayed, probably because it has not been easy to find evidence to demonstrate the reasons behind an absence. That is, you may look around and not see sex workers and their customers where you did before. But you cannot know whether they have stopped buying and selling sex or, if they have not stopped, where they have gone.

Evaluators will question police and social workers, and maybe get to speak to a few sex workers, but none of these can give an overview of sex markets that operate via private telephones and the Internet, in the privacy of homes and hotel rooms. And evaluators certainly cannot say how many people are doing what. Street prostitutes are estimated in some countries to constitute less than ten per cent of all sex workers, so, even if there are few left to see, 90% are unaccounted for. When businesses that sell sex are outlawed, they hide, so government accountants are unlikely to find them – and, after all, many are just individuals working alone.

But if we want to discuss the whole sex industry more openly, we should not focus on the concept of brothels, as Lindberg suggests – particularly not on the idea of health checks for workers. This 19th-century French idea could not be more patriarchal and thus the very opposite of jämställdhet, sexköpslagens guiding principle. Basic common sense tells us that, if disease-transmission is a concern, all parties exchanging fluids have to practice safer sex – not ‘be checked’. And although laws in the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Nevada and parts of Australia allow and regulate brothels as one form of commercial sex, many people who sell sex in those countries prefer to work on their own, in small groups in flats or – yes – on the street. In France, organised sex workers vociferously oppose a proposed return to the old system of maisons closes with health controls that stigmatise prostitutes as (female) carriers of sexually-transmitted diseases…

Read the rest at The Other Swedish Model