Every job and every Industry has its hazards. This is why most industries and businesses have Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) codes and guidelines. It is also why governments have OHS information on their websites and put Acts in place to cover such issues.
The Adult Industry is no different. No matter your job, no matter your industry, you need to ensure you follow safe practices to maintain your own and others health and safety. Australia’s Sex Industry OHS guidelines can be found at the Scarlet Alliance website. Refer to the link below.
Education is also provided by Scarlet Alliance, for training and health promotion workshops to promote high standards of OHS practices, in conjunction with the OHS manual. Sex workers and brothels are also provided with ‘The Red Book’, which teaches in detail what to look for when a health check is done. Workers in Australia can contact their local sex worker organisation in their state or territory to get a copy.
Don’t forget though, extra research of your own is always worthwhile.
All organisations or workers in the sex industry should read the above guidelines. An excerpt from the introduction states:
[The] document has been developed to build on the positive work already undertaken, and to promote best practice in sex industry OHS throughout Australia. The information in this document is intended for sex industry employers and employees, regardless of their gender identification or legal status, to assist them in developing best practice OHS standards in their own workplaces.
Regularly going over OHS guidelines for your own knowledge and your workplace is always encouraged. Scarlett Academy recommends this practice regardless of your industry or field of work.
The health & safety information below also covers some sexual health and personal body security basics. Both are essential to ensure you protect yourself, your work and your income.
Click on image to enlarge
The Ottawa Charter guides the work of Scarlet Alliance member organisations and projects. Placing sexual health within a broader health promotion framework.
"Health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love. Health is created by caring for oneself and others, by being able to take decisions and have control over one's life circumstances, and by ensuring that the society one lives in creates conditions that allow the attainment of health by all its members." ~ Scarlett Alliance
"Health Promotion action means: building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills, reorienting health services."
"Health promotion goes beyond health care. It puts health on the agenda of policymakers in all sectors and at all levels, directing them to be aware of the health consequences of their decisions and to accept their responsibilities for health.
Health promotion policy combines diverse but complementary approaches including legislation, fiscal measures, taxation and organizational change. It is coordinated action that leads to health, income and social policies that foster greater equity."
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion was first announce in 1986. To read about the conference and its call for action, click here.
Whether you are a sex worker,a client or just reading this page - your sexual health is your responsibility. Everyone who is sexually active or have more than one partner, should have regular check ups with your local clinic or doctor and always practice safe sex.
Note: A health check by a sex worker does not replace seeing a doctor, nor constitutes a diagnosis or medical advice in anyway. It is not a replacement for safe sex practices and condom use.
It is paramount for your own safety and income, you know what to look for when checking a client for any visible STIs.
The need to know before you start
SWOPNSW provides information on different STIs to help increase your knowledge and safety. They have great range of information for sexual health and other topics so have a look around the site while you are there.
International HIV and AIDS charity (AVERT) also provides information on STIs and other sexually related topics. They work with community-based organisations in some of the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa but also to aim help everyone no matter where they are have access to sexual health information. The website is user friendly and easy to navigate. We suggest you look around the site while you are there.
Checking your client
SWOPNSW provides a details walkthrough to on checking your client for visible STIs before a booking.
This is a factsheet from RespectQLD. This includes a traditional method of checking a male, female or transgender client for any visible STIs.
Regardless whether its the first time you have seen your client or their visit is weekly for the sake of your own safety, do a check every time.
Not only should condoms always be used but lubricant as well. This is a downloadable factsheet explaining the need for both by AVERT.
Also from AVERT:
Where you can have some fun testing your knowledge on Condoms use, HIV & AIDs and Sex & STIs .
Another factsheet from AVERT for anyone doing sex work, which includes what a service may include and protecting yourself from HIV and STIs.
We are starting with a cautionary message on how the flow on effect of stigma can affect your safety
One flow-on effect of the misconceptions and stigma that surrounds this industry is that what other industries take for granted, we go without or have to fight for.
Unfortunately, most governing structures of society place law above a worker's safety in their job. Globally, some of us are forced to work alone, without the basic safety or increased protection of working with another. Elsewhere the job has been tied to trafficking laws so a worker is treated as a trafficker, when there is no third party coercion, or workers are mishandled by police and law enforcements. The list goes on.
The stigma and misconceptions then ultimately flow into the public arena where the public may feel its okay to treat another person differently from example. In our case, its sex workers. Due to the example and views governing structures may put forward, in their willing or unwillingness to provide safety to this sector, the stigma may show up from 'low level abuse' like a bullying remark, to friends, partners or family stepping away to violence and death.
For anyone thinking of starting a job in the sex industry, Scarlett Academy again strongly recommends a self interview is done. Besides needing non sexual skills , there are other important qualities. These include but are not limited to having confidence in yourself, knowing how to mitigate the perpetuated risks, manage clients and having systems in place to maximise safety.
In light of this, you will find links below to help you increase your personal safety at work. We also encourage you to think of your own ways to increase personal safety for your situation, whether it be having a friend on speed dial, taking defence classes or contacting your closest sex worker organisation to find out how they can help you.
The UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UK NSWP) This booklet has been written for women, men and transgender people working in the UK sex industry. It contains information and advice about personal safety. The advice and tips can be transferred to other sex workers as well.
This manual focuses on street based and Escort work but does mention bordellos. This focuses on minimising potentially dangerous or violent situations. It also offers advice on what to do if attacked. NHS Lothian and SCOT-PEP collaborated on this manual.
Whether its a dinner date, company or full service it is best to know who your client is before you met them. SWOPChicago has some advice and tips help you verify your date and more. Contact SWOPChicago or your closest sex worker organisation in person or online as well as they may have further information and tips to help with keeping you safe before, during and after a booking in your area.
This is a short media article that interviews four workers on how they screen clients.
Scarlett Academy is always looking for further articles and links to help improved the safety and well being of those who choose sex work as a job that suits them. Please contact us with any information.
The Brazil government changed being a Sexual Professional into a recognized occupation. The above is a english version of the information they put out on the occupation.
This website is for the gay community rather than the sex industry in particular. It provides information about some of the most common STIs experienced by gay men (HIV-positive or HIV-negative).
This is a New Zealand website is for the general public but also addresses sex workers and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender under the selected topics. It has information on STIs and questions that may be asked during a sexual health checkup.
During sex, it is good practice and always use condoms and lubricate. The International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education (ISWFACE) put together a creative little poster on condom use.