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Sex Workers, Health Professionals, and MPs Raise Concerns on Brothel Report

10 November 2015

What:
Press Conference with Sex Workers, sex work health program workers, health professionals, and MPs to raise concerns about further regulation of brothels.

Who:
Janelle Fawkes, CEO Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association
Cameron Cox, CEO, Sex Worker Outreach Programme
Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill – Regulation of Brothels Committee member
Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney – Regulation of Brothels Committee member
Kathy Smith, Member for Gosford - Regulation of Brothels Committee member
 
When:
1:30pm, Tuesday the 10th of November
 
Where:
“Tree of Truth” out the back of NSW Parliament

Media reports disclosing the findings of the NSW Select Committee into the Regulation of Brothels ahead of schedule have raised serious concerns among Labor and Independent committee members and health professionals.
 
Member for Summer Hill (Jo Haylen – Labor), the Member for Gosford (Kathy Smith – Labor) and the Member for Sydney (Alex Greenwich – Independent)  did not support the findings, nor many of the recommendations, including handing enforcement and search powers to police and a licensing scheme.
 
In submissions to the committee health professionals, including Professor Basil Donovan, Head of the Sexual Health Program, Kirby Institute; NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant; ACON (Aids Council of New South Wales); The Kirketon Road Centre; and the Sydney Sexual Health Clinic all consistently warned against a licensing system.
 
Comments from Health professionals:
 
Professor Basil Donovan MD FAFPHM FAChSHM FRCPI FRCP, Head, Sexual Health Program, Kirby Institute - Full submission is HERE:
 
“licensing effectively re-criminalises the unlicensed sector and we return to the dark old days of police and medical corruption.”
 
ACON (Aids Council of New South Wales) - full submission is HERE:
 
“We believe a licensing system would be a dangerous and retrograde step, as experience elsewhere shows it to almost inevitably produce a second tier (often larger than the official licensed tier) of sex industry premises which are difficult for outreach programs to access, increase the potential for crime and corruption and do little to increase public health outcomes or improve sex worker health and safety.”
 
Dr Kerry Chant (Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary of Population and Public Health, NSW Health) in response to questions on impacts of further regulation of brothels – full transcript is HERE
 
“From the evidence that I have given to date, I would be cautious of any policy settings that added to stigma and discrimination. One has to be very careful to check how a policy will be implemented and whether it will have any perverse incentives.”


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