Next month marks the beginning of a stressful/awesome period of my life.
(Well, most people would just consider it a working holiday really, but touring makes me sound so much more badass.)
However, there is one problem with travelling around and fucking lots of people for money. For the first time in my career, I have to get my hooker licence if I want to work in Melbourne. Yup, a piece of paper that dictates what I can and can’t do behind closed doors. Weird concept, right?
Legalization might seem like a cool idea, sounds kind of progressive in contrast to a lot of different countries; and it is, except for a few tiny things that kind of change the intention from a thing of safety to a thing of control and disempowerment.
The first thing I have to do is fill in a bunch of paperwork for a government department, similar to applying for a passport. All of my private information, and my partners private information goes here, complete with passport photos and ID checks. This is dangerous enough as it is, because if I ever wanted to travel anywhere that sex work is criminalized (like the US) there is a very real possibility that I would be denied a visa. I am also very interested to see what kind of information they would give out if someone was to call the Business Licensing Authority, but that’s a different story.
Then there is the issue of advertising once I am there. Along with obtaining my Worker’s number, I am required to conform to mandatory STI testing, despite the plethora of evidence that sex workers have the lowest rate of STI’s among the general population, also despite the lack of anonymous testing clinics and huuuuge discrimination from health professionals. (Testing is something that I do maintain regularly to ensure my own health anyway but that is irrelevant.)
Luckily, some laws have recently relaxed a smidge in terms of photographs that can be used on ads. It used to be just a full face photo, similar to a mugshot, however we are now afforded the right to have full body photos as long as there is no nudity. You can imagine how unsafe this is for an already vulnerable group, affording no privacy to people who might not be out as sex workers to their friends or family.
I also am forbidden to describe my services, which is a pain in the ass because it means that I spend even more time on the phone to dickheads and time wasters when I could have just instructed them to read my ad. Considering that some of my services are quite different that what a lot of providers are offering as well, I am not able to promote myself appropriately.
All of this bullshit in the name of ‘protection’ and safety.