28 September 2009

Janine Cameron coming back to haunt Simon Corbell

| johnboy
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Last November we were all somewhat concerned that the 17 year old Janine Cameron had died of a drug overdose in a Canberra brothel.

There was also much understandable outrage that despite numerous regulations surrounding Canberra’s sex industry it turns out the Stanhope government had pretty much ceased to inspect them.

Last week the Liberals’ Vicki Dunne noted that the Chief Coroner Ron Cahill has re-opened the inquest into the 17 year old’s death to hopefully get to the bottom of what’s going wrong.

But this little slap from Vicki was, I though, particularly well made:

    “There have been no inspections since the girl’s death. This is nothing short of negligence on the part of Mr Corbell.

It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad.

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j from the block12:18 pm 30 Sep 09

I am torn about what is the bigger issue, but land on the side that she is 17 and working in the brothel. Where I worked, proof of ID was required and verified, and I think a large part of this was the owners being terrified they would be done for having someone underage working there.
My disgust at the customers coming in who asked the girls how old they were, or called up asking how old the youngest girl we had working aside, while most of them thought Bambi (not her real name)was 18 and fresh out of school, I knew she was actually 26 with two kids. So did the owners, because they had her ID.
While there are unscrupulous operators out there who operate with no respect for laws that are not enforced things like this will continue to happen.

What’s the point in having rules if you don’t care whether they’re broken?

They’ve got a memorial for Katie Bender. Janine Cameron doesn’t even seem to warrant a change in procedure – a new traffic light at the accident site, if you will.

Why is her life not important?

Surely this young woman deserves better from her city. I actually think she should have a memorial. I think we should remember that this happened, and that it shouldn’t happen again.

You know why? Because I had nearly forgotten until this story was revisited. And to hear that nothing has changed – well, that makes me mad. Just because people may forget doesn’t mean they don’t care.

WorkCover inspect OH&S (which is why their name is all over the linked Sexual Services Code of Practice above) on behalf of Office of Regulatory Services (Fair Trading).
All they can do is issue an Improvement Notice or a Prohibition Notice.

Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice is an offence under the OH&S Act, and the maximum penalty for Improvment non-compliance on an individual is $10,000 or $50,000 on a Corporation.

Failure to comply with a Prohibition Notice is an offence under the OH&S Act.
The maximum penalty on an individual is $20,000 or $100,000 on a Corporation.

If you suspect a crime has been committed (ie: Breach of Prostitution Act 1992, also linked above), contact ACT Policing.

(But just to give it a fair chance of some action actually happening, let the SWOP (Sex Worker Outreach Project) and the Scarlet Alliance (Site not safe for work) know, since they’re the everyday & on-the-ground people sex workers are more likely to run into.

If you suspect someone is stuck providing sexual services because of direct threat or implied threat of detrimental action, its also for ACT Policing, since it is then a breach of the Crimes Act 1900.
Maximum penalties are 15 years for offences, or 18 years for aggravated offences.

sepi: Like most registration and legal responsibility fingerpointing processes, it probably all revolves around what can be considered ‘reasonable steps‘ by the relevant parties. So depending on the people involved, it may or may not make it to court.

j from the block9:14 am 30 Sep 09

I would be interested to find out if the legislation says anything on escorts (from the brothels). I used to take all the precautions I could but there were a few times I was very worried about the girls, and worried about how little others in the industry cared.

The government has the responsibility to inspect, as they are the ones that register brothels.

They should just admit that the ACT registration system consists of asking a brothel to register their business name, and after that they are home-free to do as they wish.

wouldn’t it fall under the jurisdiction of the ACT health system to inspect these premises to ensure that health standards for the employees are being met? or would it be workcover? The police cannot enter the premises on suspicion, they would need to have another department request their presence, wouldn’t they? There is no doubt for me that if any department was able to inspect the conditions and make recommendations to the afp for a course of action, it would be followed up and perhaps, prevent the same tragic circumstances occurring again.

Who actually has the legal power (and, presumably responsibility) to carry out inspections? What about enforcement of action against compliance breaches?

I would have thought drugs, illegal underage activity and ‘protection’ were the realm of the police.



I actually agree that this is negligent. These girls have a right to some kind of protection surely.

A 17 year old (under the allowable age for a sex worker, with a burden of proof on the brothel operator) is found dead from an overdose of illegal drugs (working under the influence of which is specifically banned in brothels under Section 10, the Act Workcover Sexual Service Industry Code of Practice ) and yet the Minister states that “…[We] have a level of non-compliance, but I think that level of non-compliance is low and the regulatory framework works well… there is not a significant level of crime in the brothel industry.

Which is possibly a “Move along, nothing to see here, underage working girls are apparently rare because I’ve never heard of it, and no formal inspections have found anything strange in relation to illegal drug use either on brothel premises or by brothel employees. Besides, people die all the time in the rest of society. Why should we be excited by this one person? response since he formally has no idea, because he’s technically not receiving Ministerial-grade statistics, since nobody is doing inspections.
(No formal inspections = no chance of formal non-compliant findings in Ministerial reports, only anecdotal evidence that the OH&S regulations have been violated when a girl shows up dead… Hospitals without patients, anyone?)

Pity its potentially not just the one girl.

Laura Haworth, working taxpayer and mother of two, went missing on January 5 2008.

Laura Haworth’s car was eventually found two weeks later in Ainslie, with no activity on her bank accounts or phone.
She allegedly had plans to meet people after work. She remains missing, but police still have grave fears.

Sure, she’s not underage, but they have the fact that both Janine Cameron and Laura Haworth worked at Exotic Studios prior to mysteriously disappearing\turning up dead.
Google says Exotic studios has a reputation of drug-dependant ladies.

But still, for more than a year, nobody in Government has wanted to poke around and ask questions about the dead girl?

j from the block3:16 pm 29 Sep 09

And as a two post nutbag, the drugs shouldn’t have been in the brothel, the 17 year old shouldn’t have been in the brothel.

j from the block10:23 am 29 Sep 09

In my time working in the sex industry in Canberra, my place of work was inspected once, by Immigration (it was a “specialist” brothel), the SWOP girls came out every fortnight / month and checked on the girls. No one from the ACT government came out, day, or night.
In my opinion the regulation is similar to the enforcement of liquor licensing, incredibly slack, and thereby leaves the door open to less than legal operators.
Before you ask;
*I was not a working girl, I was security / chauffeur / reception. I took my job seriously, and treated the girls with respect as they treated me. It was a drug free venue, at the management even frowned on alcohol.
*I have a 15 year old daughter and a three year old daughter, prostitution would not be my first choice of occupation I wish for them, would I disown them or think less of them if they had / chose to, no.
*If I found out my partner had previously been a working girl would I be disgusted or repulsed, no.
*And finally, my mum actually thought it was a pretty cool gig and told all her friends what her “crazy son” was doing as his second job now.

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