Sex workers safety accord

On Friday February 12th the NZPC held a Hui, a day of celebration and comparison between the state of the sex industry internationally and our fantastic world leading working model of decriminalization.

 

The morning was filled with international and national speakers, several of whom I have done research projects with over the past years and the afternoon was a presentation of the new official ‘Sex workers safety accord’ or in other words a Sex industry code of conduct as developed by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.

 

I remember just over a year ago when it was put to me that something like this needed to be introduced – just after the ‘spy’ incident. It was suggested at the time that the name of myself or Funhouse should be attached to it somehow. I immediately said it should have no name other than that of the NZPC – they should own it – not any operators.

 

And here it is finally – so proud to have been setting and upholding standards for 20 years that have now become an industry code of conduct. Well done NZPC for all the hard work.

 

It makes me know that what I do is worthwhile and I will continue to fight for the human rights of sex workers in the best way I know how – set the standards and prove that a working model of such standards is viable.

 

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Sex workers’ safety accord – as developed by The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

 

All Business Code of Conduct

 

01 Upholding rights and conditions:

 

  • Take steps to support a culture which is consistent with the laws that govern sex work, including the Prostitution Reform Act 2003
  • Ensure people under the age of 18 are not facilitated into sex work.
  • Respect and uphold the right of sex workers to say no to providing sex at any time.
  • Proactively provide information to clients about their legal obligations to practice safe sex for oral, anal and vaginal sex.
  • Support sex workers who refuse to continue with a booking or service and respect their reasons for doing so.
  • Uphold sex workers’ rights by not fining or imposing penalties for declining clients.

 

02 Prevention of Violence:

 

  • Have a zero-tolerance approach to violence, including physical, sexual or emotional violence.
  • Believe what sex workers say about bad clients, and support them in asserting their personal boundaries.
  • Uphold the legal right of sex workers to be able to work free from sexual harassment by people who are responsible for their occupational safety and health.
  • Create a workplace environment that does not put pressure on a sex worker to provide services to anyone related, formally or informally, to the operation of the business.

 

03 Hiring and contracting new workers

 

  • Ensure that all sex workers are over 18 years of age
  • Ensure all hiring and contracts are open and honest
  • Ensure advertisements for sex workers are not misleading suggesting that the brothel is seeking bar staff or receptionists instead of sex workers
  • Embrace fair working conditions and respect that sex workers are independent contractors and, as such, negotiate hours that suit them.
  • Allow ‘brand-new’ sex workers an opportunity to build up their experience before promoting them, as they are vulnerable to being manipulated into agreeing to things beyond their experience.
  • Ensure that new workers have been fully informed, have time to reflect, examine their contract, are referred to NZPC, and pressure is not applied to start immediately in the brothel.
  • Protect new workers, who may agree to provide any sexual service without the appropriate experience.
  • Ensure new workers know they have a choice to decline full facial advertising as most sex workers may want to protect their real identity by not revealing their face.
  • Create a culture of informed consent, by not being afraid to share good and bad information in order to properly inform a sex worker of the reality of sex work.
  • Consider whether the relationship with sex workers is that of an employer and employee, or principal contractor and independent contractor.
  • Explain tax liabilities to contractors or employees.
  • Acknowledge that clients who complain may be manipulating the truth to get free services.
  • Support sex workers access to the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.
  • Provide information about NZPC and its services, and encourage sex workers to make contact with NZPC by text, phone or visit.

 

04 Privacy:

 

  • Protect sex workers privacy and identity by ensuring their personal information is not passed on to third parties without their knowledge and their expressed consent.
  • Where possible, photos for publicity shots will be non-identifying if this is the sex workers wish, and all those with identifying features will be deleted immediately.
  • All photos, data, etc that the sex worker does not want on the internet or in storage will be deleted.
  • Filming and external monitoring of workplace venues are discussed with sex workers at the point of hiring, and thereafter on a regular basis, and screens should only be seen by people the sex worker knows and agrees to.
  • Check with sex workers about handing information to their friends and relatives and seek their consent to do so if the situation arises.

 

05 Workplace practices:

 

  • Always pay a sex worker who provides commercial sexual services their share of the money despite complaints from clients.
  • Support sex workers’ access to sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Support sex workers to take time off for health and well-being.
  • Uphold occupational safety and health obligations as required by WorkSafe.
  • Create a workplace environment that does not put pressure on a sex worker to provide services to anyone related, formally or informally, to the operation of the business.
  • Ensure there is a process for resolving disputes that respect sex workers’ privacy.
  • Ensure workers have private space so they can talk among themselves and exchange ideas as sex workers on strategies for safe sex, and managing the clients requests.
  • Avoid having ‘favourites’ among the workers. This often amounts to workplace bullying, which is a form of harassment. It can also result in a high turnover of staff.
  • Immediately support workers who want to work fewer shifts or have time off.

 

06 Alcohol and other dugs:

 

  • Ensure that sex workers are not encouraged to drink alcohol while working.
  • Ensure those responsible for alcohol supply are familiar with the laws surrounding the provision of alcohol.
  • Ensure sex workers do not have to work with clients who are intoxicated on alcohol or other drugs.

 

07 Stigma:

 

  • Reduce the potential of stigma to impact on a sex worker’s life.
  • Ensure all sex workers are equal and all sex work experience is respected across the spectrum, self managed indoor or street based, private work and managed brothel based work.
  • Look across to other sex workers; don’t look down on them.
  • Avoid comments like “I couldn’t do your job” as it reinforces stigma.
  • Discourage bad-mouthing about other workers or the brothels they have worked in as it results in sex workers feeling demeaned.
  • Avoid discrimination on the basis of previous sex work experience gained in other parts of the industry. When comparing sex workers and sex work ensure the analogies used are respectful and not reinforcing stigma.
  • Avoid comparisons to fast food restaurants and other dehumanising analogies.
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