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17 year old overdoses on heroin in one of canberra’s ‘regulated’ brothels

By madocci 2 November 2008 132

The Canberra Times has reported that:

“Janine Cameron was found dead from a heroin overdose in Fyshwick’s Exotic Studio brothel on September 15, just six weeks after her 17th birthday.”

This leads me to question the level of exploitation that the prositition industry turns a blind eye to.  Is it time that we revisited the regulation of the industry?

“Generally speaking, the advice I have from the police is that there is not a significant level of criminal activity in the industry.”

Are we to believe Simon Corbell?

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17 year old overdoses on heroin in one of canberra’s ‘regulated’ brothels
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dexi 8:36 pm 13 Nov 08

Marilyn

Holden Caulfield 11:14 am 13 Nov 08

I reckon Friday’s 2XX piece will be a doozy!

Granny 10:44 am 13 Nov 08

Maybe it should be yahoo.com.au?

MissMoniker 10:26 am 13 Nov 08

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.

:
Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a yahoo.com account (martin19731973@yahoo.com) [-5] – mta453.mail.re4.yahoo.com [BODY]

I did try.

johnboy 8:33 am 13 Nov 08

Martin, your behaviour is not acceptable.

Cease the personal attacks on other readers or be no longer heard.

This is a final warning.

Martin1973 2:33 am 13 Nov 08

Tess

You never once said you worked for Chantalle, yes the Julie from the Downer murders,
are you ashamed and for? Wrap your own self up in cotton wool about your own business but reality is you know first hand you worked for Jules for her as Chantelle or Hollywood Studios or Gentlen prefer blondes. You were her so called friend but never mention her on this site.

For gods sake what the Canberra times did printing about her don’t you think you owe her not only as your boss but your personal friend to shed some light on her personality too?

Grow some balls, or forget the fact that you turned up to her funeral and turned a blind eye to it all. We know who you are clearly!

Martin1973 2:21 am 13 Nov 08

Mis Moniker,
Try the addy of martin19731973@yahoo.com
the capitals were wrong!

Martin1973 1:57 am 13 Nov 08

FC

Join the industry for a week and make up your own mind you pig!
See the clients, meet the girls then comment unless of course you a regular and
expect it all for free

Martin1973 1:53 am 13 Nov 08

madocci

You have mentioned on this post that your sister has been involved in the industry yet you be a hypocrite and tend to judge those in the industry. If you only read and took in what some of the working girls on this site are saying maybe you may be able to connect with your sister again. When you judge her and speak so lowly for working girls your sister is never going to be upfront with you.
For goodness sakes, let down your guard, you obviously came from the same family and background, don’t judge your sister as harshly as you have of other working girls on this site as she is one of them. When you learn to accept your sister for what she does for a living them maybe she will come around, believe in you and talk to you about her life.

Just read the posts carefully as the way you are carrying on no wonder she is not confident enough to approach you with her lifestyle.

I am not saying that out of spite, only from my heart so you will know which place she is in at the moment.

Granny 9:32 am 12 Nov 08

Rikochet, you don’t need to atone for anything, honey. You are special for who you are, not for what you do or don’t do.

Be at peace, and enjoy the life that you have.

rikochet 9:21 am 12 Nov 08

madocci said :

I think the point is that it isn’t a career choice that you are proud of.

That is why I am interested in hearing from women who are prostitutes and how they reconcile it with their families. It is not a path to be proud of, even if that is just via the attachment to an industry that takes advantage of our most vulnerable, let alone the rest of the objectification of women issues. The men who use these services are even worse as far as I am concerned, IMO they wouldn’t be using them if they had someone they cared about in the industry.

Madocci, Yes, its not a path to be proud of, which is why there is so much secrecy involved. I come from a very proud,hard working family who taught me respect, worth and consideration. How I ended up where I did is anyones guess. the hardest thing I ever had to do was to tell them what I was doing. At first they tried to help and then when that was fruitless they just stood back and hoped for the best. My mother told me once that she would dread the phone ringing as she always thought it was the call that she expected, the one informing her of my death. My father found it harder to deal with and totally withdrew from anything to do with me. I guess he found it easier to believe I was ‘gone’ than to have to deal with the reality of it all. Even now that I have changed my life , My father and I have this unresolved issue that will never be healed.

Whatever I did to myself during that time was nothing compared to what I did to my family. That is my deepest regret. I cant do anything to change the past. Being sorry will never be enough as far as Im concerned. Being all that I can be and succeeding in life is the only atonement I can find.

I have to address your comment about ‘What type of man would want a family & life with an ex-prostitute?’
I was offended by that comment. Your past doesnt always determine your future. I have found that people are more accepting of who you are now as opposed to who you were back then. They are understanding of the obstacles you overcame and the judgements you had to endure.
When I met my (at the time, future husband)the first thing I did was to be completely honest about who I used to be and what I used to do. I told him I would understand if he wanted out, as it was still a new relationship. He was obviously thrown by this revelation, but after he took some time to work it out he came back and told me that he respected my honesty and didnt care about my past as it was only the future that he was interested. So I guess in regards to your question, the answer is a non-judgemental, understanding, caring man, who sees in me the person I have become, not the person I used to be.

dexi 8:26 am 12 Nov 08

Ta Tess Ryan, there goes my whole conspiracy rant. Ive also been told that M#### has had little to do with the day to day running of Exotics for the last year. Not sure how reliable that is though. So I guess Ill just pull my head in and wait for the official report.

Tess Ryan 8:37 pm 11 Nov 08

Given that I spent eight years working in Canberra’s studios and still know many Canberra studio workers, I hope that my experience will lend me some credibility when engaging in this enormous discussion.

There is really no point in saying that I’m different because I’m independent. I worked in studios for a long time, and I enjoyed it and found it to be empowering, fun, interesting and positive. Some haven’t had that type of experience, and I acknowledge that each individual has led their own life and their experiences are valid whether they are similar to mine or not. However, to say that the only experience a person can have as a sex worker is negative, whether in a studio or elsewhere, is painting with a broad brush to your own agenda.

Of course I realise that there are people whose minds are made up, and can always find some way of justifying their own position despite any evidence to the contrary. The argument that my experiences must be different to everyone else’s is a common one, although it never seems to correlate that a negative experience also isn’t everyone’s. It’s so much more comfortable to acknowledge that which meshes with your own beliefs. Cognitive Dissonance wins again.

Sex workers who work in studios are not forced to. They can choose where they want to work and if the conditions, rules, receptionists, other workers or general environment aren’t to their liking they can go to a different one.

Some studios have strict rules, some have almost none. Some have a policy against drug or alcohol use, some take the view that it is the workers’ choice. Those who say that the sex industry in general, or the Canberra industry in particular, is ‘rife with drugs, underage girls, organised crime and violence’ are indulging in a rather twisted fantasy.

Why they are choosing to indulge in it is something that I’m not sure I want to explore, but it’s quite common for people to eagerly repeat stories of sex slavery and other sexualised violence against women with a lascivious gleam in their eye while mouthing disapproval. There are times when I can only shake my head in astonishment.

What happened with Janine Cameron is a tragedy, but it would be no less of a tragedy were she to have died elsewhere.

There are drugs all through society, at every level. Please note that when I refer to drugs I really mean drugs and alcohol. Some people use them, some don’t. Some use them for a lifetime without any negative impact, some use for a day and everything falls apart. Sometimes it ends in death, and I would hope that everyone would feel regret at that outcome.

Some people seem to think that cracking down on drug use will stop these problems. Despite the evidence that countries which have a no tolerance policy on drug use and no NSP have negative health and community outcomes.

What happens when drug users have to hide their drug use because of increased harassment? It becomes more dangerous. It increases the risk that if they overdose they won’t have anyone to help them, that they will be rushed and damage themselves while using, that they will take less time and be less careful about how they use. That can result in increases in incidents of death from overdose, Hep C infection, endocarditis and vein problems.

I applaud Simon Corbell for taking the time to get informed about the Canberra sex industry before speaking out, for meeting with sex workers to discuss the current issues, speaking with the police about their interactions with the industry, and for not jumping on the political bandwagon. He’d be much more popular if he was making uninformed statements about the industry needing to be more heavily regulated, but he didn’t take that easy route. Before any conspiracy theorists start, he is not a client of mine and I disagree with some of his past actions, but credit where it is due (sorry dexi, but I know you’ll still love me in the morning, no?).

The Canberra Times should be ashamed of that article. Their inclusion of Julie was unnecessary, not to mention irrelevant to the death of Janine Cameron, as was most of their unrelated incidents that they threw in like a dog’s breakfast. Because Julie was a sex worker her death is in some way related to the industry? How rude. Given the plethora of information floating around Canberra about that court case the Times would surely be aware that it was not. It makes such good copy though, doesn’t it?

For the feminists: please stop reading the likes of Sheila Jefferies, try some Roberta Perkins to even out the perspective.

Those who seek to control our sexuality through feminism are ignoring our right to autonomy and are in fact more insidious and damaging than the worst sexist male, who can be dismissed easily as a relic. A woman saying that the sex other women engage in should be controlled and certain types eliminated is respected as though she is somehow free from bias or cultural conditioning. It is wise to remember that feminists are subject to the same influences as everyone else in society.

I’m still not sure why people assume that regular exposure to male genitals and money would cause a reduction in intelligence, autonomy and strength of character, who knew that that the penis was so potent?

Many sex workers, myself included, are feminists but we tend to form our own opinions on the rhetoric. We could perhaps be described as some of the most radical feminists, in as far as we are distanced even from the feminist movement by those who should be our strongest supporters. Xenophobia manifests in many ways.

The well intentioned ignorant do more damage to the rights of the individual than any regime.

I know there are studies which say that sex workers experience high levels of assault, mental health issues, drug use, etc. I’ve seen them. Most of those studies tend to be from countries which have criminalised or heavily regulated industries, with few exceptions. There are often problems in their methodology including interview techniques, testing protocols, collation and statistical analyses. You should never believe everything you read in a study, you should carefully check their methodology, their critics, their publishing history, the type of journal it was published in, whether the journal is peer-review, their references, whether the study passed an ethics committee and which one, whether it was academic or privately funded and the background and qualifications of those who ran it.

Try looking at the Australian studies that show a very different picture of the industry to those cited by anti-prostitution campaigners, which show high levels of education, job satisfaction and autonomy amongst Australian sex workers. If you can go to the effort of finding the negative studies, then finding the positive ones should be just as easy. If you are confident in your assessment of the industry then you shouldn’t be afraid to look at the other side of the coin.

As for the Swedish model, everyone loves that one except the sex workers in Sweden who have to live under it.

A short excerpt from Petra Östergren, ‘Sexworkers Critique of Swedish prostitution Policy’ says:

“…sex workers in Sweden experience difficulty in finding accommodation and constantly worry about being discovered. Consequently, they are either forced to move or pay exorbitant rents. They cannot increase their level of safety by working in pairs or groups and find it difficult to have any sort of domestic or family life as they are considered to be unfit parents. Östergren writes that sex workers find the law paradoxical, illogical and discriminatory. ‘It further obstructs their work and exposes them to danger.’ The better clients have gone away but the more dangerous and perverted ones remain and when apprehended are likely to deny that they paid for sex, if indeed they have. Greater competition leads to lower prices, but this only means that women take risks and are more likely to perform acts that they would have refused previously. Sex workers feel hunted by the police and dare not report abusive customers. However, they still feel stigmatised as weak, dirty and mentally ill, or as having drug problems. Some of the sample interviewed by Östergren reported that they felt used by politicians, feminists and the media who brag and tell lies about the beneficial effect of the Swedish law in comparison with other countries. They are only listened to if they say the politically correct thing.”

More can be found here for those that are interested:
http://www.nswp.org/laws/self-sweden-20061211.html

I’m afraid that it’s true, many people choose sex work who have other options. The studies I mentioned earlier show that sex workers come from all walks of life, and that’s consistent with the range of people I have met through the industry. Does the choice of a woman without a University education have any less validity than that of those who are qualified as nurses, teachers, academics, lawyers and social workers? I tend toward the view that each individual has the right to make their own choices without needing to justify them to others, and certainly not to strangers who persist in referring to them as victims.

Some people have asked why sex workers don’t tend to discuss our work with friends and relatives (or strangers on websites), and then go on to say that we must be ashamed, and that shame is what we should be feeling. Those attitudes are precisely why people don’t discuss it. Why should we expose ourselves to such unwarranted vitriol? Is it our responsibility to have that fight every single time we meet someone new?

You can’t win an argument with an ignorant person.

There are some here (and everywhere) who won’t listen to a word I say, because they don’t want to. It’s better to remain ignorant, because ignorance is bliss, I can see that and even sympathise a little. It must make life a lot easier, god knows mine would be if I believed everything I read in the Times. Why should we publicly proclaim ourselves sex workers and then defend our choices? It just can’t stack up against evidence like ‘What some bloke down the pub told me’, ‘What I saw on A Current Affair last night’ and the all time classic ‘Everybody knows that…’.

Thank goodness there are those who are willing to listen to all points of view before forming an opinion, and who have the moral strength to reassess even their most treasured opinions whenever new information comes to light.

Several people have pointed out that I, and those other sex workers who have commented here in a positive way about the industry, do not answer questions about our personal lives, relationships and partners. When we choose not to discuss it, because it is in fact no one’s business but our own, they jump to the immediate conclusion that the real reason for not telling complete strangers everything about our personal lives must be because our relationships are flawed or non existent.

For the record, the majority of sex workers I have known have been in relationships while working. They tend to break up, make up, fight, love, have children, be romantic and all the other things involved in a relationship just as much or as little as everyone else. The only real difference is in the ‘type’ (god help us we just can’t escape the stereotyping) of partner they have. The partners are men, women, trans, het, bi, gay, young, old and every conceivable variation on human you can think of.

The one thing they aren’t though, is people who judge us for our work.

So to the whole ‘all sex work is wrong.. wrong.. WRONG’ gang, please feel free to MYOB. I don’t need your respect, I have my own.

…and that of my family, friends and coworkers. 😉

dexi 4:19 pm 11 Nov 08

HeHeHe I couldn’t help my self. ….

FC 4:05 pm 11 Nov 08

lol dexi.
so wrong though

dexi 4:03 pm 11 Nov 08

FC “Its also about society’s standards of waht is okay and what isn’t.
and it stems back even further to societies view of women on a whole.”

Surely it actually stems back to societies view of a hole on a woman?

dexi 2:06 pm 11 Nov 08

PTA meeting conversation starter… Raise your hand, those that have sold themselves to a man for a better life and been disappointed with the out come.

FC 2:05 pm 11 Nov 08

I hate the idea that women have to objectify their bodies and commodify themselves in this way.
I guess this is an issue that runs a lot deeper than just the industry.
It is also about demand.
Its also about society’s standards of waht is okay and what isn’t.
and it stems back even further to societies view of women on a whole.
And Saying that it is the oldest industry doesn’t legitimise it or make it seem as though it is a necessary part of society. Historically the standard that women (and people) were treated was worse than it is now so it is little surprise there…

FC 1:58 pm 11 Nov 08

Lets not kid ourselves.
The prostition industry in Canberra isn’t a wonderful workplace full of empowered, emotionally healthy and happy woman who think its great they are working in their ideal career.
A lot of it is linked with the underworld, and is infested with drugs, voilence and abuse.

I also wonder – if one is not ashamed of their profession – would they avoid disclosing it at say – a pta meeting? or is it just society that has the problem as they are too judgemental of something they know nothing about ??

dexi 1:54 pm 11 Nov 08

A long time ago, a friend came to me because she was having problems with her teenage daughter who had a heroin addiction. She was worried about the much older boy friend, who kept phoning. The family where frustrated and distraught by the whole situation. They had managed to bring her home and get her some help. Then one night the boyfriend turns up and takes her from the home. Two nights latter she was back working at Touch of Class, the boy friend was M####. There was little any of us could do. Ive heard from other families, who have sad stories that lead back to this one man.

Before you all get on your horse and want to tackle the evils of the world, you might like to tackle the men that do evil.

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