Migrant Sex Work and
Trafficking 101
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
Why is this issue important to the HIV/AIDS
sector
The impact of radical feminists on HIV/AIDS
policy
Current situation in Victoria
Current situation in New South Wales
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
RAIDS
Current mainly ‘Asian parlours’
result in incarceration and deportation
These sex industry businesses are the same
workplaces in which Sex Worker
Organisations and Projects deliver
peer education
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
These raids are part of the Governments
initiative to uncover the evidence of women
who have been trafficked into Australia and
forced to work in the Australian Sex Industry
against their will.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
RAIDS, net
NOT women who were not aware they would
work in the Sex Industry once entering
Australia,
but women who have agreed to pay off a
contract in order to facilitate their otherwise
impossible migration to Australia;
as well as students who are working on a
student visa.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
FUNDING
In May, 2003, the US government passed the Leadership
Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003,
which outlines the areas and support that the US
administration is prepared to endorse in the fight against
these diseases.
The act includes the limitation that "No funds made available to
carry out this Act . . .may be used to provide assistance to
any group or organization that does not have a policy
explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking."
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
Anti-trafficking = Anti-sex work
“In a nationwide crackdown against prostitution and human
trafficking, the South Korean Govt. will shut down all of the
estimated 70 red-light districts in the country….” April 3 2004
“.. close down red-light districts, moving sex workers to 14 new
“self-support” centres designed to retrain them for other
trades.”
“This is an awesome positive development in the fight against
sexual slavery and exploitation. It looks like a new model for the
advancement of human rights and the well being of women and
children has just emerged.” Donna Hughes
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
RADICAL FEMINISM
Radical feminists are playing an important role in
defining how trafficking is dealt with
Internationally and in Australia.
Rape and ‘prostitution sex’ are indistinguishable and
prostitution is coerced and akin to rape.
Prostitution and trafficking are indistinguishable.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
IMPACT ON HIV POLICY
HIV lobby in opposition to anti-trafficking??
“ (HIV/AIDS) Workers are usually trained to
adopt a ‘Harm Reduction’ and ‘Non-Judgmental
attitude…prioritises education over ending
trafficking…consequently (HIV/AID) workers
may overlook evidence of violence and coercion”
Hughes, D “Hiding in Plain Sight” Page 9, University of Rhode Island, Oct. 03
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
Portrayal of Peer Education
“Imagine what it’s like: You’re in a hellhole.
You’ve been tricked, lied to, threatened…
then, one day, someone comes from outside;
she says she’s there to help. She hands you
some condoms, tells you to use them, and
leaves- smiling and thanking the pimp as she
goes.”
Hughes, D “Human Sexploitation; The World’s Sex Slaves Need Liberation,
Not Condoms” Weekly Standard, News Corporation 2002
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
IMPACT ON HIV POLICY cont.
US Government funding withdrawn from
any sex worker services that ‘support’
rather than ‘oppose’ sex work
“…tough minded grant administration to assert
the political will to end the worldwide
enslavement of vulnerable women and
children.”
Hughes, D “Humanitarian Sexploitation: The worlds sex slaves need
liberation, not condoms” Weekly Standard, News Corporation, 2002
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
RhED-Victoria
NESB/CALD Project analysis of brothel outreach statistics
• Total of 147 brothel outreach visits
• 39 conducted with the CALD project worker and Thai speaking
bilingual worker
• Made contact with approximately 401 sex workers
• At least 25 % of Victoria’s legal brothel industry comprises of
female sex workers from CALDb
• 93 % are of Asian backgrounds from regions such as East Asia,
Japan, South East Asia and South Asia.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
A further breakdown of these Asian Sex Workers –
China
3.6 %
Indonesia
1.2 %
Japan
1.2 %
Philippines
5.1 %
South Asia
1.2 %
Thailand
23.4 %
Remainder = country of origin not established but strongly believe that
Mainland China/Chinese speakers continue to be a highly represented
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
Victoria
Of the 85-90 registered brothels in Victoria, at least a dozen are
hard-core NESB/Asian-identified establishments.
The RhED Program NESB/CALD Project brothel outreach,
however, has not focused solely on these : the sex industry
overall is comprised of a highly mobile and transient
workforce. Familiarity and current knowledge of the legal
industry is crucial, and furthermore, sex workers (SW) from
NESB/CALD can be found working throughout the
industry and not just within those NESB/Asian-identified
establishments.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
New South Wales
• “ I am a mother, daughter, wife, aunty,
farmer, friend, sister working woman,
but to you all I am is a sex slave.”
Sydney based contract sex worker
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
SWOP NSW CALD/NESB
• Bilingual and NESB Peer Outreach
•Resources in different languages
–Negotiation skills
–Safe sex, STI’s and HIV information
–Laws
•Taxation information and referral
•Immigration Clinic
•English Classes
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
WHAT DO CONTRACTS PROVIDE?
• Airfares
•Visa/Passport
•Accommodation
•Day to Day support and communication
•Cultural support; food, language, religion
•Workplace
•Financial Agreement
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
DIMIA/AFP RESPONSE
• No legal advice or support
•No or little access to services
•No ‘cooling off’ period
•No protection if giving evidence
•VISA cancellation and deportation
•Little opportunity to collect personal
possessions or wages/savings
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
Summarise
Internationally the strong push for Antitrafficking solutions have resulted in
• prohibition of sex industry,
• Sex Work Orgs blocked from receiving
funding.
• Attacks on the value of peer education to
sex workers.
• Sex Work resources moved to welfare
projects.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
The high profile anti-trafficking campaigners in
Australia are also anti-sex work campaigners.
In Australia the anti-trafficking campaigns have:
• Contributed to a distorted public image of migrant sex workers and all
sex workers.
• Resulted in increased surveillance of brothels.
• Resulted in increased police contact with sex workers.
• Effected funding- which should have gone to sex worker Orgs.
• Resulted in an Australian University course (6 units) based on sex work as
sexual exploitation including International campaigners.
• Received funding for conferences and capacity development work.
• Been supported by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission.
• Publicly undermined our position on this issue and drew
questioning about the relationship between sex worker
organisations and brothel managers/owners.
National forum for Sex Worker Organisations/Projects
www.scarletalliance.org.au
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