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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5256 ..


When outreach is occurring an employer may choose to tell an illegal worker to go into a workroom and pretend to be busy in a booking so that the outreach team does not get to talk to the illegal worker. Even though we do not ask people what their visa status is, an employer may choose not to risk the illegal worker being discovered.

Many sex workers who have travelled here as migrants and do not speak English may not be aware of the laws, safe sex, their rights, and other issues that are common knowledge to local sex workers. Sex workers here illegally may require even MORE outreach support than those who are here legally.

Increased penalties has the effect of distancing illegal migrant sex workers from outreach services.

It is therefore crucial that we consider the views of the sex workers themselves, including hearing the views of the Scarlet Alliance and the sex workers outreach program. They are the representatives of the workers in the industry, and they have arguably the most in-depth knowledge of the current regulatory system and its impact as well as the current issues on the ground.

The Prostitution Act as it is currently written allows for protection of personal details, in particular, names and addresses. This acknowledges that outing sex workers without their consent can have serious personal consequences. We need to recognise that protection of privacy is of particular importance in this industry. Onerous burdens on individual sex workers or fears for their privacy may drive sex workers out of the regulated environment into unlicensed sex work, which undermines the benefits of having a licensing system in the first place.

The ACT needs a modern, regulated industry that takes into account both the need to combat the serious crimes of child prostitution and sex trafficking whilst maintaining a licensing and enforcement system that does not compromise the basic health and wellbeing of sex workers. I understand that the amended terms of reference moved by Mrs Dunne have been developed by consensus by the JACS committee. As Ms Hunter has already stated, the Greens support those terms of reference and look forward to seeing the results of the committee inquiry.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.18): I will close the debate, and I will also speak to the amendment. The government has no objection to the amendment. Indeed, the purpose of my proposed terms of reference was to provide for as broad a review as possible but drawing particular attention to the issue of proof of age. I accept that members would like some more specificity in terms of the actual terms of reference so as to not see an unnecessary narrowing. I am quite comfortable with that, and I am very happy to support the amendment as suggested.

I would also like to thank members for their support of the motion. It is timely that we look at the operation of the Prostitution Act. A well-regulated industry is the best way of delivering a safe industry—a safe industry for workers and clients and a safe


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