“I wouldn’t call the cops if was being bashed to Death”

Join us for this free lunchtime research brief with Dr Zahra Stardust, QUT & Jules Kim Scarlet Alliance.
About this event

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#DecrimQLD has the pleasure of presenting a lunchtime online research brief:

‘I Wouldn’t Call the Cops if I was Being Bashed to Death’: Sex Work, Whore Stigma and the Criminal Legal System’

“Sex work is replete with narratives of risk and danger, predominantly focused on violence and disease. However, the risks instigated by police, maintained by the criminal justice system and sanctioned by the state—criminal laws, licensing laws and targeted policing—receive far less attention.”

The paper we will be discussing is published in the QUT Centre for Justice journal, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, and responds to this gap in three ways.

First, examining how stigma manifests in sex workers’ experiences of Australian policing, which act to disincentivise sex workers from accessing criminal legal mechanisms.

Second, to illustrate how sex workers are denied victim status as they are seen by law as ‘irresponsible citizens’ and blamed for their experiences of crime.

Third, to argue that these factors create conditions in which sex workers must constantly assess risks to access safety and legal redress while structural sex work stigma persists unabated. The paper concludes that ‘whore stigma’ is entrenched in the criminal legal system and requires a systematic response that necessitates but goes beyond the decriminalisation of sex work.

Read the article:

Location: Online via zoom

Date: Tuesday 2 November 2021

Time: 12.30 – 1.30pm QLD Time, (130-2.30PM NSW Time)

Presenters and authors:

Dr Zahra Stardust is a socio-legal scholar at the intersections of sexuality, technology and law. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at the Queensland University of Technology and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Her current projects examine the data governance of sex tech, the implications of algorithmic sexual profiling, and how content moderation practices impact sexual cultures. Over the last 15 years Zahra has worked in policy, advocacy, legal and research capacities with community organisations, NGOs and UN bodies on sex worker rights and LGBTQA+ health. Her work has been published in books such as Queer Sex Work, New Feminist Studies and Orienting Feminism, and journals such as the Journal of Sexual Health, Porn Studies, and the International Journal of Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

Jules Kim is a Korean/Australian sex worker and the CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association – the peak national organisation representing sex workers and sex worker organisations, collectives and projects since 1989. She is the Chair for the regional sex worker network, Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) and is the UN Program Coordinating Board (UNPCB) NGO Delegate for the Asia Pacific for 2019-2021. Jules represents sex workers on a number of government committees and advisory mechanisms, and has provided testimony and expert advice to parliamentary hearings and inquiries in relation to sex work, migration, trafficking and law reform and led research on migrant sex workers. She has over 20 years experience in sex work, sex worker advocacy, community development and representation.

#DecrimQLD is a committee of sex workers who have joined with Respect Inc. Queensland’s sex worker organisation, to progress the removal of harmful and discriminatory sex work laws and achieve decriminalisation in Queensland.

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