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"Tasmanian sex workers need better services." Scarlet Alliance, 20 August 2008

Scarlet Alliance, The Australian Sex Workers Association, is holding a community forum in Hobart on Friday August 22 to promote the need for better services for sex workers in Tasmania.

"Some parts of the Tasmanian community maintain an out of date morality that equates sex work with sin, crime and other social misconduct. The reality is that sex work is a legal profession that deserves the same workplace rights, support services and respect as other professions," states Alina Thomas a project officer working for Scarlet Alliance in Tasmania.

For the past two years Scarlet Alliance has resourced a pilot project funded by the Commonwealth government to provided health information to sex workers. This project enabled Scarlet Alliance to gain feedback directly from sex workers about their need for a dedicated service to counteract inaccurate information in the community about sex work.

Every other state and territory in Australia has benefitted from state funded sex work projects since the 1980s. Tasmanian sex workers have been disadvantaged by not having access to a sex worker run service.

Sex worker organisations provide information, education, advocacy, lobbying and representation on behalf of sex workers.

Members of the Scarlet Alliance Executive Committee are visiting Hobart from across Australia to meet with the government and raise their concerns. "Sex workers need their own project to help fight the high levels of stigma and discrimination experienced by sex workers in Tasmania" says Janelle Fawkes, CEO of Scarlet Alliance. "Without such a service we find sex workers are socially isolated and unsupported."

The community forum is an opportunity to raise awareness of issues for sex workers in Tasmania.