Author: SWEAR WA

Help Save SWEAR

SWEAR needs proactive people eager to help our advocacy actions ASAP!

The voices of our membership want the organisation to keep going, to continue to represent the WA sex worker community and ensure the community is at the table when legislative decision that impact us are being made. Without a President our dedicated team can not be the political voice advocating for sex worker rights. Without your help SWEAR can not achieve their core business.

We have a few positions open and welcome all help. However, it is essential we get a president. If we can not find a President by the 30th of December we will need to stop operating as an organisation. This is something we do not wish to happen, nor is it something our membership wants to happen.

With the membership support you must be curious why someone isn’t stepping up into the role to ensure our continuation. I can answer this. President is a challenging role seems intimidating and requires strong communication and leadership skills. Our chair (who has previously held the role of president) is aware of these challenges and is offering as much support and mentorship as the new president needs.

So if you think you would be willing to work with the awesome team, promote sex worker rights, advocate for decriminalisation and ensure SWEAR is meeting the needs of the community please get in touch ASAP! Essential criteria – Passionate and a willingness to develop into the awesome president we need! If you would like more information on what the responsibilities, time commitment or have any other questions please reach out to Renee at swear.wa@gmail.com

If you are interested in other positions you can look at our list of available positions below;

President: Acts as a spokesperson for the Committee. Acts as a liaison with organisations. Reports to Committee

Treasurer: Responsible for keeping accurate financial records and grant applications
Reports to Committee

Policy Officer: Responsible for development of policies, position statements and submissions, with consultation of members and support of the Committee. Reports to the President

Marketing Coordinator: Responsible for the marketing, promotions and online presence of SWEAR. Reports to the President

General Member: (No less than one (1) member and no more than three (3) general
members may sit on the Committee at one time) Responsible for representing the sex
worker community. Reports to the Committee

 

 

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Change is in the air….

Hello all, we know it has been epically quiet on the SWEAR front his year. We have been rebuilding, restructuring and discovering our move forward. We have been focused heavily on peer support and healing within our community after the chaos of the last few years.

With all that said exciting change is in the air. I won’t spoil too much, as it is my role here to announce that I am stepping down from the SWEAR governance team. I will remain a mentor to the fabulous people stepping up.

As the sole remaining founding member this has been a difficult decision. From our very first informal meeting in 2011 until now, and I am sure long into the future, SWEAR has held a special place in my heart. The skills I learnt through this volunteer advocacy and peer support role,, my fellow workers and the amazing governance team have prepared me to tackle other career goals.

As I recently got married and am working in the muggle world a lot, I feel it is the time to hand the baton on to the amazing sexy workers of today. I can’t wait for them to introduce what they have in store for you!!

I shall catch you around a social event or on my personal social media. Be kind to the new team and continue  to fight for the decriminalisation of sex work, to challenge the stigma and be the amazing people you are!

Always,

Renai

Support CJ

Today we received the sentence for CJ Palmer. It has been determined that CJ will serve the sentence in a Male prison. SWEAR members are appalled that WA continues to hold trans and gender diverse individuals in facilities that do not align with their gender identity. CJ is being held in the crisis care unit, away from the general population, forcing her to remain in isolation. This is not appropriate and the impact to individual’s mental health following extended periods of isolation is well documented. SWEAR is hosting a letter writing workshop in the aim of reducing this isolation.

The time has come for the WA sex worker community (and the rest of the nation & globe) to stand up and support one of our fabulous sexy worker sisters. Please support the fundraiser (below), share amongst your networks and write to CJ.

SWEAR invites all current and former sex workers (and allies) to write to CJ and will be hosting a letter writing workshop on the 28th of February. The location  of this will be somewhere in Perth CBD and people can you can contact us via email or social media to find out where to met us.

SWEAR also wishes to extend the offer of support to other incarcerated sexy worker family and you can pass any details directly to our email.

SWEAR also reminds all individuals that the comments on online media are horrible and to stay safe when engaging online. If any of the sexy worker family needs to touch base please flick us an email.

A financial fundraiser has been established and can be located below:

https://chuffed.org/…/solitary-but-not-alone-support-cj-dur…

On the 19th of January, 2018, CJ Palmer, a trans woman and former sex worker was charged with causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the alleged transmission of HIV to her ex-partner. CJ has been remanded in a maximum-security male prison in Western Australia where she has already spent over 9 months while awaiting her trial. Her sentence will also be served in a male prison. As a woman in a maximum security male prison, CJ is forced to stay in isolation in a cell by herself in the Crisis Care Unit.

Previous appeals to have her moved from the male prison have been unsuccessful.

Solitary confinement has been extremely difficult on our sister. Showing that she is not alone is important more now than ever before. Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association* is collecting donations on behalf of CJ in order to top up her commissary account and her phone call allowance each month. These are small ways we can let her know she is still part of the community!

All donations go directly to CJ and will be kept separately for her use only.

CJ would also appreciate any letters. There are restrictions on what you can send in the post and letters will be read by the prison. The prison may also censor the letter if the content is deemed to “jeopardise the security and good order of the prison or is of a threatening or harassing nature”. If you would like to send a message of support to CJ you can write to her at:

Clayton Palmer

Casuarina Prison

Locked Bag No 1

Kwinana Post Office

KWINANA WA 6167

*Scarlet Alliance is Australia’s national peak body representing sex workers, sex worker organisations, projects and collectives. Scarlet Alliance plays an active role in Australia’s response to HIV and in advocating for rights for all sex workers, past and present. See: www.scarletalliance.org.au

Media Release

http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/…/News_Item.2018-01-23.44…

http://invalid.invalid/media/News_Item.2018-01-30.4757

 

Positions Available

SWEAR welcomes all current sex workers to sit on our committee. SWEAR has multiple positions available at this moment. We are most eager to fill the social media manager and events manager positions. SWEAR is an unfunded sex worker collective and unable to provide any of our committee with compensation. If you are interested in assisting our committee please email us to discuss how you can help, or if the below positions interest you please get in touch via email – swear.wa@gmail.com

Social Media Manager Volunteer Position

Time commitment: We ask a minimum of 45 minutes per week from home

Responsibilities: Manning SWEAR’s Facebook page and Twitter account. This includes posting interesting and relevant content, sharing and retweeting relevant content, promoting SWEAR’s events and responding to messages

Experience required: Sex industry experience is essential. Basic internet skills are essential.

Desirable skills include;

  • Facebook and Twitter knowledge
  • Ability to schedule social media via Hootsuite
  • A witty sense of humour
  • An interest in sex worker advocacy
  • Ability to create graphics or images for social media
  • A willingness to learn.

 

Events Manager Volunteer Position

Time commitment: 4hours per month

Responsibilities: The organisation and deliver of SWEAR events.

Experience required: Sex industry experience is essential. Basic internet skills are essential.

Desirable skills include;

  • Event organisation
  • Social media knowledge
  • Graphic (images & posters) creation
  • Facebook knowledge
  • Interest in sex worker advocacy
  • Ability to work well with others

To apply

Email SWEAR (swear.wa@gmail.com) with the following;

  • Your chosen name (SWEAR allows all volunteers to use a pseudonym if they wish)
  • Your ability to fill this position
  • Any relevant experience
  • Why you are the perfect person to fill this role
  • Your availability

Other notable things: SWEAR is happy to allow this volunteer role to be job-shared. If you are unable to commit on an ongoing basis, are interested in job-sharing, or have any other concerns please don’t let this stop you applying. Have someone you would like to job-share with? Submit a joint application

 

Support CJ Palmer

Donate Here(Link to GoFundMe)

Most of you will now CJ as the transwoman and sex worker who arrived at a booking to be arrested and given a HIV diagnosis by Police then held in a male prison. I know Cj as one of the kindest, beautiful people I have ever had the privilege to meet and call a friend.

I met CJ after she was released on bail to my best firends house. My bestie is a single mother ans sex worker. She has been my biggest support over the last ten years.

These two individuals are always there to help others. Since her release CJ has provided peer support for many sex workers who fear facing similar circumstances if they engage with testing services. CJ is the person, who despite the fuckery that has been her life over the last 18 onths has put her own shit on hold to hug me as i dealt with the the comparitively small chaos in my life. CJ is the woman who helps my bestie get her kid to school, provides comedic relief in the face of these dark times and cooks awesome dinners for my chosen family. My bestie is a single mother who has taken in CJ’s mum (super thanks to you guys for getting her over here) and CJ, supported CJ financially, provided me and countless others a shoulder to cry on, supported our dreams and advocated for sex worker rights always.

However since CJ’s release late last year my bestie has had the financial stress of another person in her home. Following family deaths requiring international travel, changes to childcare arrangements and emergency house repairs my besties savings have evaporated and her working availability has dramatically decreased.

I am asking each of you to support us in supporting our communtity. Ensure these two gorgeous women have a roof over their heads, electricity, food and access to health care. Donate to the gofundme, share it if you are not in a position to donate. These two people are invaluable members of the sex worker community. Lets support them not with thoughts and prayers but by decreasing the anxiety around paing the bills.

Despite facing terrible adversity CJ is remaining in good spirits. Lets work together to show her the support we have for her. Please share! Please Donate!

 

Volunteers Needed

Hello all,

As you may know, PFSWRWA is an unfunded, volunteer based organisation. Recently many of our committee have found themselves unable to dedicate the time from their busy lives. Which means WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!

We are looking for volunteers who can dedicate 2+ hours a week to PFSWRWA. This does not need to be consecutive hours and this is a rough guide of time. Main duties are online based. Volunteers will receive a lot of support and capacity building in sex worker advocacy, peer support and get to work alongside some pretty rad people.

If you are interested in volunteering  or finding out more, please email us at peopleforsexworkerrightsinwa@outlook.com or see our Contact Us Page. All volunteers must be current sex workers who work in WA.

Please share to anyone who maybe interested, filling these positions is crucial to our continuance.

Thank you all in advance

Perth Sex Workers Speak Out Against Prostitution Narratives

We acknowledge that everybody has a different experience of the sex industry, and that no one person can speak for all sex workers; however, Prostitution Narratives tries to take the experience of a small number of women, and assign that experience to all women in the industry. While we respect the experience of the former sex workers who were involved in Prostitution Narratives, as current sex workers, we are the people who a change in the law would affect – not people who used to be engaged in the industry.
The word trafficking conjures up images of women tied to beds, and this is not the reality. Sex work is the exchange of sex for money, goods, or services, between two consenting adults. It is a far more banal reality than the lurid images those who’ve never done it frequently imagine up. The editors of Prostitution Narratives frequently make an outlandish comparison to chattel slavery; as prominent United States anti-racist organisation INCITE! Women of Colour stated, “in borrowing this narrative, these ‘abolitionists’ exploit Black suffering to provide emotional weight to their own cause”. As sex workers, we are in the rare industry where workers having a negative experience of the industry sometimes inspires those outsiders who have never done it – such as the editors of Prostitution Narratives – to campaign for legislation that has made the experiences of current workers much, much worse. Their views treat our lives as collateral damage in a moral political agenda.
We are especially outraged at the appalling attempt by the editors of Prostitution Narratives to use the 2015 death of prominent Australian sex worker advocate Pippa O’Sullivan, also known as Grace Bellavue, for their own political gain. Pippa was an incredibly strong voice for sex worker rights, who ferociously opposed Melinda Tankard Reist and Caroline Norma’s views and fought tooth-and-nail against the Nordic model and for the decriminalisation of her work for many years. That the editors would use a woman’s suicide to advance a cause that that woman vehemently opposed – without the consent of Pippa’s grieving family – is absolutely disgusting. Pippa’s appalled mother will never have their platform, and has launched a website for people who actually knew and respected Pippa to post their memories to counter the disgusting depiction in Prostitution Narratives.

 

So What About The Nordic Model?

The Nordic model, the legal approach taken towards sex work in Sweden and Norway, is being spun by its supporters internationally, including those behind the Prostitution Narratives launch tonight, as being done in the interests of women in the sex industry. The reality of what it has actually done to Swedish and Norwegian sex workers has been very different, and it has had catastrophic consequences for those who have had to live under it. This is not a bug in the system, rather, it is an intrinsic feature: Ann Martin, the head of Sweden’s anti-trafficking unit and a key promoter of the Nordic model, told a journalist “I think of course the law has negative consequences for women in prostitution, but that’s also some of the effect that we want to achieve with the law.”
For all the rhetoric of its promoters, the Nordic model has made being a sex worker in Sweden much more dangerous. Sex workers who work in pairs for safety now risk arrest, so sex workers are forced to work alone – and predators know this. Sex workers cannot report violence to police, because they will be placed under surveillance and lose their livelihood from police trying to catch clients. Sex workers are at great risk of losing children due to the immense stigma towards them; in one notorious case, a Swedish court ruled that a man who was known to be violent was a better parent than a current sex worker. That court ruled that she could only see her child under supervision, and while at one such supervision, that man stabbed her to death. Policing human trafficking has become more difficult, because it is not differentiated from sex work, while the promised “income support programs” to assist workers out of the industry have not eventuated. The amount of sex workers has not gone down, yet their lives have gotten considerably worse as a result.
From 2007 to 2011, police in Oslo, Norway, specifically targeted women in the sex industry for forced evictions, in what was literally called “Operation Homeless”. In 2014 – after that had supposedly ended – nine Nigerian sex workers reported a horrifically violent rape, and police responded by instructing their landlord to evict them or face prosecution. In the same year, another group of migrant sex workers who reported a rape were deported from the country before they had even healed from their physical injuries, while police did not follow up on their rape. Oslo police continue to use the presence of condoms as evidence of sex work, leaving workers in fear of possessing them. The Norwegian government’s own 2014 analysis into the impact of the Nordic model stated “women in the street market report to have a weaker bargaining position and more safety concerns now than before the law was introduced”.
This is the reality of what the Nordic model, sought after by the editors of Prostitution Narratives, has done to sex workers in Sweden and Norway, as anti-sex work ideology was allowed to trump sex workers’ right to be free from violence and persecution. We will not let them do it to us.

 

19.02.2016 Press Release

Allegations of HIV transmission have been made against a transgender person living with HIV, who was also a sex worker in Western Australia.

People for Sex Worker Rights in Western Australia, the peer-led advocacy group for sex workers in Western Australia, does not support criminalisation of consensual sexual activity, including when transmission of a sexually transmitted infection occurs. While we cannot comment on a case before the courts, we believe that sexual health should be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal one.

“Safer sex is the responsibility of everyone engaging in a sexual activity, not just one party,” said People For Sex Worker Rights in WA president Rebecca Davies.

“We have continually seen, both within Australia and globally, that prosecuting people for cases of this nature result in poorer public health outcomes, and a reduction in people going in for sexual health testing. UNAIDS has raised concerns that such criminal laws create disincentives to testing, create a false sense of security for those who believe themselves to be HIV-negative, reinforce stigma against people living with HIV, and result in selective prosecution of people with HIV among otherwise marginalised communities. We share these concerns.”

“It has been extremely disappointing to see the media actively encouraging stigma towards people living with HIV, transgender women and sex workers in their reporting of this case. Such reporting only serves to create fear and misinformation, when it should highlight the need for drastic improvement in public sexual health education.

“We are also extremely disappointed to see repeated transphobic reporting towards the sex worker concerned, including referring to a woman as “male”, using incorrect pronouns, and reporting of her birth name. There can be no justification for such transphobic coverage in 2016.”

“The sexual health of sex workers in Australia has repeatedly been shown to be as good as, if not better than, the general population. A public health-focused response centred on peer education and harm reduction is a far better means of promoting sexual health than harmful measures of criminalisation. We suggest that pouring funds into policing measures while simultaneously seeing funding cuts to sexual health services around Australia is deeply counterproductive.”

Contact:

Rebecca Davies

President, People For Sex Worker Rights in WA

Ph: 0451 984 211

Perth Memorial for Pippa O’Sullivan, aka Grace Bellavue

On Friday the 23rd of October 2015, sex workers and friends gathered together in Hyde Park, Perth to remember and mourn the passing of Pippa O’Sullivan, also well known as Grace Bellavue.

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Pippa/Grace

It was an intimate gathering filled with laughter, scotch, tears, balloons and Pippa’s favourite songs in a park scattered with red umbrellas.

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Carmel Crème prepared a beautiful tribute to Pippa which was read out to those attending:

“PIPPA WAS TRULY AN AMAZING WOMAN WHO TOUCHED THE LIVES OF EVERYONE WHO KNEW HER, OR KNEW OF HER THROUGH HER WRITINGS. Her literary skills were far beyond her years and the way she viewed the world was unique & COMPLEX, BUT her wisdom AND INSIGHT surpassed MOST. HER SENSE OF HUMOUR WAS AS WICKED AS SHE WAS. WHAT MATTERED MOST TO PIPPA WERE PEOPLE, SHE WOULD DROP EVERYTHING TO HELP YOU WHETHER SHE KNEW YOU OR NOT. SHE ALSO INSPIRED PEOPLE TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS, WHEN THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE THEY COULD. Pippa WAS ALSO a great campaigner for women’s rights, the rights of sex workers and people with mental health issues. SOMETHING WE ARE ALL TRULY GRATEFUL FOR.

Pippa posted this on her FaceBook page, which at the time really stood out to me…

“in my mind in any relationship there is no I, there will never be a you and I, only a very tightly bonded period where collectively we can help ourselves and others”.

I will miss Pippa, as we all will, but I CAN’T say goodbye because when Pippa said she wanted to go home she meant the otherside, I WOULD LIKE TO THINK we will meet again one day.

PIPPA LOVED HER FAMILY AND THEY WERE ALL INCREDIBLY CLOSE, OUR THOUGHTS GO OUT TO THEM ALL, HER PARTNER TIM AND HER BEST FRIEND DEB.

TWO VERY SPECIAL FRIENDS OF Pips who couldn’t be here today is Kate Reynolds, PIPPA INSPIRED KATE TO RECORD THE SONG ‘SKINNY LOVE’ WHICH KATE RERECORDED LAST WEEK IN PIPPAS HONOUR .

ALSO LILY FURY WHO AS PIPPA SAID “WAS THE ONE PERSON THAT SHE TRULY CONNECTED WITH ON EVERY LEVEL”

WHEREVER YOUR SILVER THREADED WINGS HAVE TAKEN YOU PIPPA I HOPE YOU ARE AT PEACE, I HOPE YOU KNOW HOW TRULY LOVED YOU ARE BY SO MANY AND HOW YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. YOU MADE YOUR MARK ON THIS EARTH AND NO ONE CAN ASK MORE OF YOU THAN THAT.”

This was followed by other workers saying how they came across Pippa/Grace and how she influenced and inspired them through her writing and advocacy. We played “Skinny Love” when we released red balloons in Pippa’s honour, with one rebellious balloon getting itself stuck under the pergola!

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Everyone then had a scotch for Pippa, even the non-drinkers amongst us! And some of us had another! We played Pippa’s favourite music and the last of us didn’t leave until a few hours later.

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It was a beautiful memorial for an amazing woman who will be missed, and remembered always. Many thanks go out to Carmel Crème for organizing this tribute to Pippa, it was greatly appreciated by those in Perth who were unable to attend the funeral in Adelaide. The WA sex worker community thanks you, and thank you to all who attended.

**Please note that all photographs were taken with permission and we were unable to get a full group photo as not everyone is comfortable having their picture taken

To read Pippa’s writings please see: https://gracebellavue.wordpress.com/