Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Scarlet Alliance condemns the forming of yet another abolitionist group

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Response to Nordic Model Australian Coalition

4th August 2012

“Scarlet Alliance condemns the forming of yet another abolitionist group.”

Tasmanian Project Coordinator, Jade Barker, says: ” Scarlet Alliance and sex workers do not support the Swedish model. This model is abolition of the sex industry thinly disguised as protecting women – but it actually reduces sex working women’s control over their workplace.”

Banning the buying of sex demonises clients and denies the fact that clients see sex workers for many different and legitimate reasons. Company, therapy and to explore their sexuality in a safe environment are some of the reasons clients give for visiting sex workers.

“The formation of this group shows that those involved do not see the value of continued consultation with sex workers, nor do they acknowledge the commitment by sex workers and the sex industry to good occupational health and safety standards.” said Ms. Barker.

We know this model does not reduce the size of the industry but it does change the way sex workers work –it actually reduces sex workers control of their workspace and occupational health and safety.

NORMAC supports the criminalisation of clients of sex workers, a model which has proven dangerous for sex worker health and safety and which is contrary to international best-practice.

“Research from Sweden demonstrates that criminalising the purchase of sexual services has had no effect in reducing the size of the sex industry.

Instead, by criminalising everyone around the sex worker, Swedish laws have isolated sex workers, forced sex workers into unsafe working conditions, and denied the agency of sex workers”, argues Ms Barker.

In Sweden, sex workers cannot work together or they risk being charged with ‘pimping’, it is illegal to rent hotels or apartments to sex workers, and pimping charges can be applied to sex workers’ security personnel, drivers, and even children. The model has dramatically decreased sex workers’ opportunities to look out for each other’s safety and engage in peer education.

The Tasmanian Government should send a clear message to the community that sex workers are entitled to the same rights and protections as all other Tasmanians – only a decriminalised model will do this.

Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, is the peak national representative body for sex workers in Australia. Scarlet Alliance works towards sex worker rights (legal, health, industrial, civil) and uses health promotion approaches to achieve this. The tools Scarlet Alliance recognises as best practices include peer education, community development, community engagement, and advocacy. Our membership includes State based Sex Worker Organisations and Projects throughout Australia and ensures we are able to represent the issues effecting our members and sex workers Australia wide.

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  1. Emma Goldman

    August 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Steroids seized in Australia may have been intended for sex workers in Bangladesh.


    Alison Caldwell reported this story on Friday, August 3, 2012 18:42:00

    TIM PALMER: The arrest of four men bound for Bangladesh carrying $1 million and a large quantity of steroids at Sydney Airport this week has highlighted concerns about the growing trend of steroid abuse among sex workers in Bangladesh.

    The men were charged with a range of offences including supplying a prohibited drug and goods in custody. A police search of two units in
    Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west found more cash and steroids.

    It’s been reported sex workers in Bangladesh commonly use steroids to enhance their appearance and improve their endurance.

    The most common drug, known as Oradexon is normally used to fatten up cows. It’s highly addictive and can have serious medical consequences including diabetes, kidney damage and increased blood pressure.

    Alison Caldwell reports.

    ALISON CALDWELL: About 200,000 women and teenage girls work in Bangladesh’s sex industry and according to the anti poverty agency Action Aid 90 per cent of them may be addicted to steroids, the most common being Oradexon. It’s known as the cow drug because it’s commonly used to fatten up cows.

    Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world where many people are malnourished. Forty six per cent of children suffer from moderate to
    severe underweight problems.

    In Bangladesh, body fat is considered attractive and steroids are seen as a cheap, easy way to put on weight.

    Two years ago the Guardian newspaper visited a brothel in Faridpur in central Bangladesh which houses 800 sex workers, some as young as 12.

    Many of them are forced to take Oradexon daily – they’re told it’s a medicine.

    The Guardian spoke to one teenager, Asha, who says it makes her look older and more attractive.

    ASHA (translated): I take two tablets per day. When I take it I feel good. When I’m not on it, I lose my appetite and I have health problems.

    ALISON CALDWELL: In Bangladesh prescriptions aren’t used. Oradexon is sold
    in vitamin bottles and costs one cent per pill.

    Asha’s madam is Joyeeta. She owns four other sex workers in the brothel and gives them each Oradexon.

    JOYEETA (translated): It makes them prettier and healthier and attracts more customers. I know there are side effects but I give them vitamins
    as well so they won’t have health problems.

    ALISON CALDWELL: But Oradexon causes severe and devastating side effects, including diabetes, kidney damage, high blood pressure and possibly

    Anti poverty agency Action Aid’s Archie Law.

    ARCHIE LAW: This steroid’s originally been designed to fatten cows. It’s not designed for human consumption. It has all sorts of horrible side effects as far as diabetes, high blood pressure, skin rashes, headaches. It’s highly addictive, leads to kidney failure and often can lead to a premature death.

    Ultimately, this is all about the power relationship between men and women and if this is what men want, this is what these women are prepared to do to increase their value to that man.

    So, no it’s a disgusting situation.

    ALISON CALDWELL: In 2010, ActionAid Bangladesh launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of Oradexon and to help the women who are
    addicted to it.

    ActionAid Australia executive director Archie Law says sex workers are coerced into taking Oradexon by brothel owners who are seeking to maximise
    their profits.

    ARCHIE LAW: Some of the brothels have thousands of sex workers working there.

    They’re organised. Women who know they have rights under the law. They’re working on trafficking issues. They’re working on underage sex workers.
    They’re putting pressure on government to actually deliver on their own legislation.

    So we’re supporting a lot of those groups as well.

    ALISON CALDWELL: Would this be the first time you’ve heard of the steroid being a bid to take it out of Australia?

    ARCHIE LAW: Yeah this is the first time we’ve heard of alleged Australian involvement in this issue.

    It’s very difficult to think that it’s for anything else other than headed for the brothels. Bangladesh isn’t a typical destination for drug
    trafficking in the region.

    Although, at the same time, you know the police inquiry hasn’t revealed why the destination was Bangladesh. There’s a lot more detail that needs
    to come out.

    TIM PALMER: Archie Law from the anti-poverty charity ActionAid Australia.

  2. randy dollars

    August 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

    thank you Scarlet Alliance for your ongoing work campaigning against the criminalisation of our clients. I cannot even believe that the idea of criminalising our income is supported by people who claim to be concerned about our ‘human rights.’

    Jade your ongoing work in this area is most appreciated by the sex worker community.

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