Sex workers group responds to 'dirty secret' story
A NON-PROFIT community group focused on the rights and well-being of sex workers in Queensland has challenged claims made by a sex worker Xena in a Morning Bulletin story two weeks ago.
Xena blamed an influx of foreign 'colleagues' for performing sexual or oral acts without a condom for undercutting her business and potentially spread sexually transmitted diseases throughout Rockhampton.
These unprotected sexual acts she claimed, were creating an unacceptable expectation from her clients that pressured her to provide a similar experience to compete.
"These men need to realise that you can't keep having sex without protection and not pick up something,” Xena said.
"We provide a service for them which is why they come to us but the condom is there to protect us both.
"But the foreign workers are running the industry into the ground. They do it for $40. Soon someone will get AIDS and it will spread like fire. People's wives and family will get it too.”
Respect Inc Acting Secretary Erica Magenta strongly disagreed with Xena's sentiment and urge her to reconsider her views towards culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) sex workers.
"We condemn these accusations that unfairly target CALD workers who have just as much right to be working in Rockhampton as anybody else,” Ms Magenta said.
"Xena has no evidence on which to base the strong claims she has made; clients requesting natural services does not equate to workers offering them.
"It has long been documented that sex workers in Australia have high rates of condom use and lower rates of STI's than the general public and Respect has high condom sales to CALD workers in Rockhampton.”
Ms Magenta said she personally had never heard of a worker pressuring a client not to use a condom but have heard of the reverse.
"The real problem here is that Xena is blaming CALD workers when she should be looking at the clients who are requesting unsafe services in the first place,” she said.
"Clients think they can pressure workers for services that they don't offer, and they pit us against each other to help them to do this.
"Unfortunately, this tactic has worked on Xena and she is upset at the wrong people.”
She said if anyone is driving the industry down it's clients who are wanting more for less.
"All workers would like to be paid a decent living wage,” Ms Magenta said.
"No one wants to do it for $40 if they can get paid more.
"If people are offering lower prices it's usually because they are forced to, due to supply and demand, like in any free market economy.”
She said the problem facing CALD workers is pressuring by clients to lower their prices because in Australia white sex workers can charge more than Asian workers.
"CALD sex workers face additional challenges working in Australia just like CALD workers in any other industry, due to racism, negative cultural stereotyping and barriers such as lower level English language skills or a lack of awareness of their workplace and industrial rights,” Ms Magenta said.
"Racism towards CALD sex workers serves only to reinforce the negative stereotyping that prevents them from being able to enforce boundaries and prices to the same extent that their white Australian co-workers do.
"In effect, racism by workers like Xena only contributes to CALD workers' marginalisation, creating the conditions for exactly what she is afraid of.”
Ms Magenta said if Xena was met and talk to any CALD workers she would realise that they want the same things she does: condom-loving clients and a fair wage.