Thursday, 20 September 2012

Police putting St Kilda sex workers at risk

Police launched operation nocturne on Carlisle st. recently
THE STATE'S peak body for sex workers has slammed the police crackdown on street prostitution in St Kilda.

Vixen Victoria spokesman Christian Vega said violence against sex workers statistically increased after police operations in red light areas.

"It sends a message that sex workers are an easy target," Mr Vega said. "Perpetrators think 'she won't go to the police'.

"When social stigma reaches such an extreme level, people don't recognise the humanity of these people."

He said sex workers were forced into risky situations when the men who visited them became paranoid about getting caught.

"When clients are targeted, it puts the pressure on them to get in and out of St Kilda quickly," Mr Vega said.
"Previously, they would wind down the window and have a conversation."

But when police presence was high, he said, workers were more likely to jump in the car and be driven to another location.

"Once they're in an unfamiliar area away from the other sex workers, it maximises the opportunity for violent crime," Mr Vega said. "It's really dangerous."

He said workers could be more likely to agree to unsafe sexual practices when clients were scarce.

Police have increased their street sex work operations in the past month, targeting "kerb crawlers" during Operation Nocturn and both sex workers and clients during Operation Biscuit.

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