ISSUED 6TH AUGUST, 2020
RESTRICTIONS IN METRO MELBOURNE
From 11.59pm, 5th of August, new Restricted Activities Directions (Restricted Areas) (no. 6) came into effect. This table outlines ‘Permitted Work Premises’ for the purposes of the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 6). In-person sex work is not on that list. Vixen Collective has confirmed with the government that under Stage 4 restrictions, in-person sex work is NOT permitted in metropolitan Melbourne.
Currently, we are seeing high levels of COVID-19 policing of sex workers in Victoria, including a disproportionate number of infringement notices issued to sex workers, their clients, and sex work businesses. Vixen Collective condemns this unequivocally. Policing and fines are not effective or evidence-based public health strategies.
If you have contact with the police regarding COVID-19 and sex work, or are issued with an infringement notice, please reach out to Vixen Collective on our peer support line. We can offer information, support around police interactions, and referrals and support to access free and confidential legal advice if required.
WHAT IS VIXEN COLLECTIVE DOING?
Vixen Collective is working hard to advocate for equitable and evidence based treatment of sex workers, and for government to work in partnership with sex workers as we respond to COVID-19 alongside other Victorian workers. Above all, we continue as always to advocate fiercely for the rights of all sex workers in Victoria.
Vixen Collective calls for access to adequate financial support and emergency relief for all sex workers, further resourcing for peer-education and harm reduction, access to housing and rental relief and essential support services for all sex workers, and the full decriminalisation of all forms of sex work in Victoria
We will continue to provide updates on restrictions, harm reduction, and emergency relief - please follow us on social media to stay up to date.
RESTRICTIONS IN REGIONAL VICTORIA
From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply.
As per August 5th Stay at Home Directions (Non Melbourne), people can leave their homes for work that is not restricted.
As per the August 5th Restricted Activity Directions (Non Melbourne), OUTCALL ONLY private work, escort work for licensed agencies/businesses (off-premises only) is not restricted in regional Victoria (i.e outside of metropolitan Melbourne).
Sex workers CAN leave their homes to do those permitted forms of in-person sex work. They CAN enter a client’s home to do that work. Brothels and strip clubs are closed.
All other existing laws and compliance requirements concerning sex work in Victoria still apply.
If you are experiencing symptoms of covid-19 you should self-isolate and get tested. If you are concerned you may have covid-19, you can call the National Coronavirus 24hr Helpline for information and advice on 1800 020 080. If you require translating services, call 131 450.
If you are able to take time off from in-person work, you should! However, we recognise some sex workers are not in a position to do this. If you do in-person sex work at this time, you should consider your screening, work practices, what services you provide, and enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures.
Sex workers responded rapidly to COVID-19 from the early stages of the pandemic, with many of us adapting our work practices well before restrictions were introduced. Many sex workers moved to non contact forms of sex work or other income sources, while others practiced enhanced screening measures, increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols.
Please see this link for extensive information on COVID-19 harm reduction and sex work. https://redbook.scarletalliance.org.au/covid-19/
Free Legal Advice on Covid-19 Policing:
People anywhere in Victoria stopped and questioned by police, or fined or charged under COVID-19 laws can access Fitzroy Legal Service for free legal advice and information.
Call 0434 136 501 or visit https://www.fitzroy-legal.org.au
Police powers: your rights in Victoria
Scarlet Alliance Emergency Support for Sex Workers - new fund!
This fund will primarily focus on supporting sex workers who have not yet been able to return to work, particularly where COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and where sex workers are subject to penalties and fines. If you are a sex worker who needs financial relief please complete the self assessment tool via the links at the bottom of the page.
Please consider donating if you have cash to spare, and/or share in your networks. All funds go directly to sex workers in need!
You can find a more extensive list of resources by clicking here.