Letter from Australia

Hi Grahame,

I am writing to you concerning the Scottish Trades Union Congress decision to cancel the venue booking for the Sex Worker Open University.

Scarlet Alliance has sent a speaker to the event from Australia to highlight the way in which legal frameworks here (namely decriminalisation) have supported rights, including industrial rights, for sex workers. Self organising is important for all workers in any industry and it is the same if not more so for sex workers. It is a great shame that your union has sought to block access to sex workers sharing experiences of self organising and campaigning in workplaces for industrial rights.

We have very close links with unions here in Australia and sex workers have union coverage.

I believe that whoever made this decision within STUC must be misled, seemingly on two levels. Firstly, sex work is work and workers deserve industrial rights protections. Secondly this decision seems to have been influenced by a women’s group that seeks to criminalise the clients of sex workers and frame sex workers as all women, and exploited by clients who are all men. This is an extremely conservative analysis of the experiences of sex workers.

I hope that you will consider that sex workers need rights, particularly industrial rights.

Systemic discrimination does not improve working conditions for sex workers only industrial rights will.

I ask you as Secretary of the STUC to reconsider this decision and support sex workers campaigning for sex worker rights.

Yours faithfully,

Janelle Fawkes,
Chief Executive Officer,
Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association,
Sydney, Australia.

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