*THIS BLOG DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY LEGAL ADVICE NOR ADDRESSES ALL ISSUES RELATING TO POLICY REFORM*
*THIS BLOG FULLY SUPPORTS THE SCARLET ALLIANCE SUBMISSION TO THE AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND THIS BLOG IS NOT TO DETRACT FROM THE EXCELLENT WORK DONE BY SCARLET ALLIANCE IN PREPARING THAT SUBMISSION*
On 31 October 2014, Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association (www.scarletalliance.com.au) did a marvellous job at writing to Mr Tim Wilson on “Rights and Responsibilities Consultation with respect to sex worker rights. It is well drafted, addresses many relevant points that relate to sex worker rights and Scarlet Alliance should be commended for it.
Today, I’m going to provide my submission to Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission about what I think of Rights and Responsibilities of consultation. It’s not as eloquent as Scarlet Alliance’s effort but I’ve done my best.
“Dear Mr Wilson,
Hi there! Its KVA! You may not remember me from that time we were at a University and you were talking to people about how much you love human rights. I was in the third row and I guess I was just a number to you. I must say though, you looked absolutely fab in your Hugo Boss suit and your blue tie. But I guess, being paid $330,000 a year to do what you do, you’ve got to look good, right? I know how these things work.
Scarlet Alliance wrote to you on the 31 October 2014 and to be be honest, I haven’t heard a word from you about the submission once in the media about this submission (Which is weird, Tim, because I know you like the media, especially appearing on right wing television shows preaching to us all about how its okay to use the word “n*gger” because, like….free speech and stuff!).
Mr. Tim Wilson, I have a series of questions for you that I am hoping that you can answer. If you can help out a mate here, I’d appreciate a response to each of these points when you get a moment.
(1) Why do sex workers still have trouble getting loans for houses or business loans to further their profession when I, as a lawyer, can walk in and get a pre-approved $10,000 credit card without so much as a blink of any eye?
(2) Why do sex workers face eviction from their premises merely by being sex workers when I can, as a lawyer, work from my desk which overlooks my leafy suburb and actually claim part of my rental expenses as business expenses for tax reasons?
(3) Why, if I were to go into sex work if I were a lawyer, be so frightened to do so because of the possibility that I would lose my job as a lawyer for being a sex worker outside of my work hours?
(4) Why do sex workers have such fear of police when a crime has been committed against them yet as a lawyer, I get a shake of a hand in court? Why the difference in the level of respect?
(5) Why as a lawyer, would I have no problem sitting in the witness stand to give evidence against an alleged offender yet sex workers cannot do so because they are so afraid of their identities being exposed in order to pursue justice against those who have harmed them?
(6) Why as a lawyer, I receive constant mail advertising how much I need life insurance and income protection insurance where sex workers are being denied those very services simply because of their choice of job?
(7) Why can I place an advertisement in a newspaper selling my ambulance chasing services yet newspapers discriminate against sex workers to placing advertisements for their services? Who chooses who is selling the most appropriate service?
(8) Why, because of licensing laws and criminalisation, does a sex worker need to place herself/himself at harm to perform their job in risky premises when us lawyers get staff that serve fancy cappuccinos and have fresh flowers at a reception?
(9) Why are sex workers subject to consorting laws by hanging out with other sex workers yet a whole bunch of us lawyers can hang out down on Phillip Street, Sydney at a pub and no one blinks an eye?
(10) Why do some sex workers (who have the financial privilege to do so) need to hire more security to protect themselves than say, a lawyer who prosecutes against criminal’s day in day out?
(11) Why, as a lawyer, is my workplace subject to a world class Occupational Health and Safety regime yet we have establishments out there that do not even provide sex workers with basic sanitary needs when working a 14 hour shift?
(12) Why was it easy and HONOURABLE for me to choose to be a lawyer but sex workers cannot be proud of the services that they provide to clients on a daily basis? Why are sex workers forced to feel shame by society for their work choices as opposed to someone like me who has chosen to use my brain and body in a different way?
(13) Why does Ban Ki Moon, our United National Secretary General, even need to make statements to make it clear to countries that the rights of sex workers need to be respected when no one has even needed to come out and fight for the rights us “poor suffering” lawyers?
Do you have any answers for me, Tim? I’d really like to know the answers because I am a little lost. I cannot work out why my sex worker friends’ lives need to be different to mine because society thinks that I made the “better choice” to be a lawyer and not a sex worker.
Tim, do me a favour:
(1) Decriminalise sex work for all of the reasons outlined in the Scarlet Alliance Submission on Rights and Responsibilities to the Australian Human Rights Commission;
(2) Insert a head of discrimination in the legislative regime we have in Australia to ensure that sex workers are not discriminated against in any form, whether it be for loans, insurance, work, association, and social services.
(3) Don’t just create the legislation but given sex workers the opportunity to make claims under this head of discrimination if and when it occurs because a law means nothing unless it can be properly enforced.
Thank you kindly for your time, Tim. I know you’re busy at all of those lunches and seminars you go to. I get it, you’re busy. But if you could spend a little time thinking about the questions I have posed, I’d appreciate it greatly.
Scarlet Alliance’s brilliant submission can be found here: http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/library/hrsub_2014/
If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.