To eliminate the transmission of Blood Borne Viruses in the Northern Territory through support, advocacy and ending. SWOP NT is a peer-based health promotion service that engages sex workers and other sex industry stakeholders in the Northern Territory.
Prostitutes' Collective spokeswoman Kate Dickie says price rises may well be a consequence of the Prostitution Reform Act, which became law at midnight. She told the Herald she was busy yesterday taking calls from massage-parlour operators worried about losing staff who they fear may pool resources and start their own businesses.
This, alone, would force operators to look after staff better. They also had to meet new requirements of licensing authorities and health inspectors, even if it meant having to put up prices.
One massage-parlour operator, who would not be named, said earlier that he believed there would be few changes to working conditions as owners of d premises would continue to merely "rent" rooms to prostitutes and their clients. He said prostitutes would continue to work as independent contractors, absolving parlour owners from liabilities such as accident compensation levies and tax returns.
The owners' only liabilities would be for managerial and bar staff, for whom they already paid ACC levies. He knew of none who directly employed prostitutes. But an Occupational Safety and Health Service head office manager, Keith Stewart, said the Health and Safety in Employment Act made owners responsible for the welfare of everyone working on their premises - whether employees or contractors, and regardless of the type of industry.
Mr Stewart said his service intended working with the Prostitutes' Collective on a code of practice for employing sex workers, but had yet to consider which other industry representatives to consult. The service would also develop a code for the safety of its own staff, such as whether they should work in pairs when inspecting parlours and brothels. Ms Dickie said decriminalisation of prostitution in New South Wales led to fiercer competition for staff, but no big increase in the of sex workers, meaning operators were advertising for recruits on this side of the Tasman.
She said some prostitutes already paid ACC levies and tax, but in her own four years' experience of managing parlours, she knew of none bold enough to make any compensation claims for workplace accidents. Despite recent jibes from talkback radio callers about claims for sexually transmitted infections and occupational overuse syndrome, she said the biggest risk was back injuries from massaging.
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