International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers begins in Melbourne with fierce sex worker voices raised in St Kilda. Workers highlight the lack of progress in bringing anyone to justice for sex worker Tracy Connelly’s death and the barriers to seeking police assistance when working outside the licensing system.
St Kilda sex workers Claire, Chrissy and Kat speak about their work, also the need for police and media attention to remain on the person or persons responsible for Tracy’s death.
After MP Clem Newtown-Brown tells the crowd that the government has “no easy answers”, the microphone is opened to sex workers, sex worker Ryan states “there is an answer – and it’s decriminalisation!”…
It is clear from talking to sex workers gathered afterwards the perception is the media have moved on, and that there is no communication from police on the status of the investigation. It took two weeks to get a statement for the purposes of the ID2EVASW Vixen Hour radio show on the 16th of Dec – via S.I.C.U. (Sex Industry Co-ordination Unit) – from the murder investigation, just to update that the case was “ongoing”.
Contrasted to the coverage of Jill Meaghers’ death and relatively swift capture of Adrian Bayley, St Kilda sex workers feel abandoned. Why wouldn’t they?
There is another clear feeling from talking to sex workers after the rally. That regardless of how anyone feels about their work – good, bad or indifferent – that it’s work. If something bad happens a sex worker should be as able to call the police as anyone else.
Without a debate about how “likely” it is they’ll be charged for reporting it.