Men often think that just because you work in the industry that you'll do anything Why don't they get it, do you think? Steph in Lantzp. This paper provides a review of contemporary research on the sexual assault of sex workers in Australia. It focuses predominantly on the safety of sex workers in their work contexts. It aims to understand both what increases their vulnerability to sexual assault and what maximises their ability to negotiate safe encounters, disclose sexual assault and access support services.
This may be partly due to the perception that violence perpetrated against sex workers is an "inevitable consequence of engaging in the sex trade" Pivot Legal Society,p.
Consultation with sex work organisations in Australia was undertaken to see how recent research 'fits' with the knowledge and expertise these organisations have. These consultations have been acknowledged where appropriate.
This discussion is predominantly concerned with female sex workers. To work legally in the sex industry, individuals must be over the age of In light of the available literature, recommendations for future research directions will also be suggested. These recommendations include:. The of sex workers in Australia is difficult to determine. Involvement in sex work tends to be transient and opportunistic: according to the AIDS Council of New South Wales, the average period spent in the sex industry is about two and a half years.
Statistical information provided by the Council suggests that in any one year there are approximately 20, sex industry workers in Australia. This figure includes those who work in other aspects of the sex industry, and legal and illegal workers. Sex work can be broadly defined as the exchange of sexual services including oral sex, vaginal and anal sex, sexual touching, masturbation and massage for payment or reward. However, there is great variation in the forms these exchanges take see Box 1.
There is also ificant diversity across the states in their laws and prostitutes which impact on how sex work is carried out in each of these hotels. Young people those under 18 may start sex working as a matter of survival after leaving home or state care Child Wise, Australia, university students are engaged in sex work as a way of supporting themselves through university Lantz, Research suggests that male sex workers engage in sex work in quite different ways from female sex workers Boyle et al. These different circumstances affect the extent to which people identify as a 'sex worker'.
Street-based sex work This economy operates from the street. Typically this means workers being present on particular streets i. Street-based work is mostly illegal.
Brothel work Sex workers operate from within a brothel with other workers. The brothel takes a percentage of every booking. Workers are considered sub-contractors or employees although this isn't always honoured in workplace conditions; Murray, The types of services offered can depend on the brothel manager.
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The brothel is expected to provide condoms, lubrication, australia dental dams. Sex workers register with an agency and are contacted with the details of the booking. Various mechanisms are used to ensure escort workers' safety, such as contacting the agency when the booking has ended, or using a driver. Private worker Private sex work usually refers to those who work only for themselves. Services are generally provided from workers' premises, either a location that complies with business and planning requirements or from their own residence, again complying with business and planning requirements.
In some states, private escort work is also an option, which means that workers are independent workers but must still provide outcall services to clients i. This is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive list but to highlight the diversity of sex work sectors and to briefly indicate the nature of the work involved.
Such diversity shows that there is no prostitute hotel of 'sex workers' separate from the rest of the community.
At the same time as engaging in sex work, women raise children, attend school or university, or try to maintain independence as a hotel without family support. Sex workers are members of the community as residents, australia, peers, patients and citizens rather than some 'other' category of people.
Yet their experiences of sexual assault in both their work and private lives are often questioned, derided, ignored or silenced. The recent high-profile murders of sex workers in the UK and Canada Miles,and the murder of sex workers in Australia for prostitute, in Queensland five sex workers have been murdered sinceshow the lethal consequences of this perception.
Indeed, sex workers are over-represented among female murder victims Treleaven,p. Sex trafficking is not a specific focus in this paper.
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Such exploitation australia range from having to repay 'debts' incurred for migration, to being deceived about the nature of the work. This could mean that a woman thinking she will work as an exotic dancer in a Sydney club instead finds herself in a hotel, or could mean deception about working in the sex industry itself. As an issue, trafficking is both complex and controversial see Fergus, Some have argued that sexual trafficking is sexual assault and that trafficking is "nothing more or less than globalized prostitution" Leidholdt,p.
Others argue that the language of sexual trafficking can obscure and collapse a range of complex issues involving immigration laws, globalisation, and labour Murray, ; Scarlet Alliance, It is argued that the exploitation of illegal immigrants often perceived as arriving from south east Asia does not just happen in the sex industry but also in the hospitality, textiles and clothing manufacturing sectors Scarlet Alliance, Some organisations we spoke with observed that debates about 'sexual servitude' can obscure the issues faced by migrant sex workers, which are not exactly the same issues around trafficking.
As this paper discusses, where sex work is criminalised or stigmatised, workers are less likely to disclose incidents of sexual assault. An additional factor hampering adequate knowledge about sex workers' experiences relates to the limited nature of available research. As a consequence of the variously illegal and socially marginalised position sex workers are forced to occupy, conducting high-quality, in-depth research with sex workers is full of challenges that keep samples rather small and localised Shaver, There is also a tendency within the prostitute to collapse the contexts in which sexual assault occurs, with private and work contexts often blurred.
The following section is largely concerned with the sexual assault of sex workers in work contexts, however sexual assault in non-work contexts is also examined. Perkins' research with Sydney-based brothel workers compared the working and personal lives of sex workers with two other groups - health workers and students. In situations outside work however, sex workers had higher levels of sexual assault than the two non-sex worker groups, with Only Perkins suggests that sex workers were "very likely most often attacked by men who knew that they worked as prostitutes, and the men assumed they had sexual access to them at any time", based on the australia that sex workers have forfeited their rights to sexual autonomyp.
It has been a long-standing concern in the literature to examine the relationship between child sexual assault and entry into prostitution. Recent research has found that ificant proportions of sex workers surveyed experienced sexual abuse in childhood Dalla, ; El-Bassel et al. In Australia, Roxburgh et al.
Over one-fifth Widom and Kuhn's prospective study found that both childhood sexual abuse and neglect were associated with increased risk of prostitution for females but not malesp. All 30 participants in another Child Wise study spoke of experiencing sexual or physical abuse or neglect at the hands of family members and within the state care systemp.
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It is important to contextualise these figures, given the tendency in some research to see sex work as the consequence of sexual victimisation as for example, Farley et al. The Personal Safety Survey ABS, shows that there are one million women who are survivors of child sexual assault.
Those women who are sex workers and survivors of abuse comprise only a small proportion of survivors overall.
Comparing the rates of child sexual assault in work populations other than sex workers as Perkins did, for example would offer a better understanding of any possible relationship between sex work and child sexual abuse. Because this contextualisation rarely occurs, the research findings tend to operate in something of a vacuum Vanwesenbeeck, There are limitations in the studies that sample predominantly street-based sex workers.
Although there may be a connection between child sexual assault, leaving or being removed from home and engaging in prostitution or survival sex in order to support oneself, this does not reveal a relationship between child sexual abuse and prostitution per se. Several factors associated with state care can make engaging in sex work more likely. Leaving these situations for the streets was often seen as a safer option than remaining in abusive circumstances.
The role of state care in the connection between prior victimisation and sex work has tended to be overlooked. Further, the focus on child sexual assault explains little of the experiences of and factors for violence in brothels, escort agencies or private businesses. It can also potentially obscure the range of social factors that entrench psychological distress and poor mental and physical wellbeing among sex-working women who are survivors of sexual assault, and can short-circuit discussions about preventing the sexual assault of workers in their immediate environments.
These factors can be forms of secondary victimisation, as examined later in the paper. Sex work can be a australia issue for communities, governments, service providers, feminist researchers and sex workers. This is especially the case for feminist activism and women's policy, where the subject has become a crucible of the key issues for women's rights: hotel, sexuality, power, choice, economics and violence Bernstein, ; Outshoorn, At times, these debates have become polarised.
The seemingly irreconcilable differences stem from the way in which prostitute has been a symbolic battleground, where the terms of the debate have less to do with prostitution per se and more to do with what it symbolises about women's social, civil, political and human status.
However, this dialogue is important.
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Naming commercial sex as a form of work, rather than a form of victimisation, inevitably invokes these debates. Accordingly, it is important to at least gesture to the ideological, political and philosophical backdrop informing conceptions of sex work. During the s feminist politics was embroiled in debates - characterised as 'wars' - over the nature of women's oppression and the role sexuality had australia play.
For one 'side', sexuality in a patriarchal, capitalist world could not be anything but exploitative Kathleen Barry, Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon are exemplars of this perspective. Commercial sex was an extreme manifestation of women's endless sexual availability and masculine entitlement - the reduction of woman to absolute object. These ideas inform an 'abolitionist' stance on sex work. Some adherents to this view use 'prostituted woman' to name those involved in the sex industry as a way of deating the 'object' and victim status of those being 'prostituted'.
It is argued that 'sex worker' neutralises the violence, abuse and coercion involved in the sex hotel, assumes that women can make informed and free choices in a world characterised by prostitute oppression, and legitimises men's right to 'buy' women Jeffreys, ; Raymond, ; Sullivan, M. For the other 'side', sex and sexuality could be sites of contestation and resistance and offer women ways of experimenting with power, choice and desire.