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

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

Canada: Prostitution laws struck down by Ont. court

September 28, 2010, By CBC News

An Ontario court has thrown out key provisions of Canada’s anti-prostitution laws in response to a constitutional challenge by a Toronto dominatrix and two prostitutes in 2009.

Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Himel said it now falls to Parliament to “fashion corrective action.”

“It is my view that in the meantime these unconstitutional provisions should be of no force and effect, particularly given the seriousness of the charter violations,” Himel wrote. Continue reading

Canada: The new Prohibition

The new Prohibition

Steve Bosch/Postmedia News

The federal government announced new measures to combat organized crime like prostitution, illegal gambling and drug trafficking on Aug. 4, 2010.
Terence Corcoran, National Post · Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010

The Harper government, fresh from botching its alleged pander to the libertarian wing of the Conservative party with its voluntary census plan, appears to be having no problem steamrolling over the libertarian wing’s sensitivities on crime. In back-to-back performances this week, two Cabinet ministers invoked harsh tough-on-crime motives that show the Tories’ concern about individual rights to be a fleeting interest compared with their enthusiasm for escalating the bonkers American war on drugs, gambling and sex. 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

NZ: Decriminalisation of sex industry positive move

Taking the Crime out of Sex Work

Thursday May 13, 2010

Decriminalisation of New Zealand’s sex industry has resulted in safer, healthier sex workers, a new book by University of Otago, Christchurch, researcher Gillian Abel shows.

Since decriminalisation seven years ago sex workers are more empowered to insist on safe sex, Abel’s book “Taking the crime out of sex work – New Zealand sex workers’ fight for decriminalisation’’ shows.

Abel is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago, Christchurch’s Public Health and General Practice department.

She edited the book with Lisa Fitzgerald (a former Otago University, Christchurch, health promotion lecturer) and Catherine Healy (with Aline Taylor).

They interviewed 772 sex workers for the book. Continue reading