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Updated Condom & Dam Use Laws in Queensland

This page was produced in 2011 to inform Qld sex workers about the updates to Condom & Dam Use Laws in Queensland

For information about the Condom Use Laws (produced by SSPAN in 2008) link here.

To link directly to Respect Inc, the Sex Worker Organisation in Queensland, click here http://www.respectqld.org.au/

To all sex workers,

In Queensland the Prostitution Act 1999 includes the following section about using condoms and dams during sex work:

77A Prostitute providing sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic

(1) A prostitute must not provide prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex unless a prophylactic is used. Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

(2) A prostitute must not offer to provide prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic being used. Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

(3) A person must not—

(a) ask a prostitute to provide prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic being used; or

(b) accept an offer from a prostitute to provide prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic being used; or

(c) obtain prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex unless a prophylactic is used.

Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

This is the law that makes it an offence for a sex worker to offer a client a 'natural service’, that is, sex or oral without a condom or dam (Section 77a [2]).

It is also the law makes it an offence for a client to ask for a 'natural service’, that is sex or oral without a condom or dam (Section 77a [3,a]).

The police have been investigating these offences by posing as clients, ringing or emailing us (sex workers) and then asking for services without condoms or dams. Sometimes they will offer extra money for a ‘natural’ service to try to tempt us into breaking this law so they can charge us with a criminal offence.

By doing this they are breaking the law but we have always thought that police had immunity for this. We have just become aware that they don’t have immunity and the police are at risk of having complaints made against them if they ask for an unprotected service.

Now, they want to change the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Act to allow police immunity when they try to entrap us by offering us extra money, nagging for ‘natural’ sexual services (usually oral from what we have been told by other sex workers). Once we accept the offer we can be charged and they get their bust for the day!

The new law is Clause 101 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

Clause 101 includes offences under section 77A(2) and (3)(a) and (b) ‘Prostitute providing sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic’ of the Prostitution Act 1999 in the definition of controlled activity offence.

The explanatory notes says:

The inclusion of these offences will provide immunity for a police officer

....will increase the opportunities for a police officer to detect and investigate offences that have the potential impact upon the health of the Queensland community through the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Before this new law can be passed it must be examined by the new Legal Affairs, Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services Committee (LAPCSESC).

They have asked for submissions by 23rd September 2011 on this proposed change and Respect Inc is going to submit our feedback.

As sex workers ourselves, Respect has an issue with the police using these policing strategies. We believe that sex workers work hard to ensure their services include health and safety strategies such as condom use for oral and intercourse. Sex workers are not spreading STIs to the rest of the community and have low STI transmission rates because we support and reinforce the idea that condom use is standard practice in our work places and clients have to accept it or go without. The police target sex workers with little English language capacity and no way to defend the charges. It undermines the work that Respect does in supporting sex workers to use condoms. With the police out there asking for ‘natural’ services every day no wonder new sex workers feel pressured to provide these services!

We have also spoken to sex workers who say that they can work around a client who doesn’t want to use condoms with tricks and the use of other things like femidoms which are not necessarily recognised by all police officers as prophylactics. Unfortunately, if a sex worker says to a potential client that they don’t need to use a condom with the plan of tricking the client into thinking they are having unprotected sex they can be charged if that client turns out to be the police. It can be difficult for many of us to go through court, the media publishing our names, costs, etc so often people just plead guilty and get it over and done with. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

If the legislation was better at supporting our occupational health and safety needs, we wouldn’t need to contribute to reviews like this and we could trust that our interests were being met. However, currently they aren’t so we do need to provide the government with information from the people affected by the legislation which is why we are writing to you.

If you support us, we ask that you write to the LAPCSES Committee at Parliament House George Street, Brisbane Qld 4000 or by email to lapcsesc@parliament.qld.gov.au and let them know that you agree with the Respect Inc submission either as a sex worker, representative of a community organisation or as a community member. Tell them you object to the inclusion of Clause 101.

Submissions are due by Friday the 23rd September however we have been told that they will accept emails supporting our application until the 30th September. If you would prefer to email your endorsement through the Respect Inc email so that we can protect your privacy, please contact your closest office.

For any further information you can contact the LAPCSES committee secretary on (07) 3406 7307. Sex workers are also welcome to contact a Respect office and have a chat with one of the staff about this.

Brisbane 07 38351111 Cairns 07 40515009 Townsville 07 47244853 Gold Coast 07 5657 0857

info@respectqld.org.au

Jenny King

Chairperson

Respect Inc

This page was produced in October 2011, with thanks from Respect Inc