Prostitutes given guide to safe work in WA
26th March 2008, 6:00 WST
A detailed manual overseeing the world’s oldest profession — the sex trade — is to be introduced in WA soon and will explain how to run a brothel and the safest way to work as a prostitute.
The 50-page draft policy, titled Code of Practice: Occupational Health and Safety in the Sexual Services Industry, will be completed soon after long-awaited prostitution laws pass through Parliament, expected to be early next month.
The code of practice, the first of its kind for WA’s sex industry, covers issues that prostitutes, brothels and escort workers encounter on a regular basis, including regular health checks and safe sex practices.
The guidelines recommend prostitutes not be on duty for more than 12 hours, have three-monthly health checks for sexually transmitted infections and be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
New sex workers should be given induction training on how to handle difficult clients, how to refuse services, deal with workplace violence, sexism and harassment, how to put on a condom properly and what to do if a condom breaks during sex.
Unclean or faulty equipment such as spas and sex toys, condom breakage, escort work to unknown or unsafe locations and unchanged linen are identified as industry hazards.
To prevent “occupational overuse syndrome”, a condition which occurs when people perform rapid repetitive tasks, the policy suggests employers provide beds that offer back support and bondage and discipline equipment be adjustable and not too heavy.
Industry insiders have welcomed the imminent introduction of the code, saying it is long overdue.
The draft code was developed last year by a group consisting of sex workers, medical experts, local government and Health Department representatives. .
written by: KATE CAMPBELL