Scarlet Alliance

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Scarlet Alliance
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Scarlet Alliance is Australia's national peak sex worker organisation. It was formed in 1989.[1] As an organisation maintained entirely by current and former sex workers,[2] Scarlet Alliance aims to achieve equality, social, legal, political, cultural and economic justice for workers in the sex industry.[3]


Since its inception, Scarlet Alliance has primarily relied on volunteers to manage the organisation. Despite receiving various funding grants over the last decade and a half,[when?] the majority of Scarlet Alliance's work has remained unfunded. The organisation has stated its commitment to aims and objectives, to its membership and the broader sex worker community as always coming first. However, if funding can be sourced towards supporting key areas of this work without compromising political objectives, then it has been sought in order to boost the organisation's capacity as well as to support greater equity and access to events such as the annual national forum. In 2004 Scarlet Alliance was granted government funding to undertake project work in Australia and within the Asia/ Pacific region. This funding came to an end in 2012 when the Australian government allocated a greater amount of "foreign aid" towards running offshore detention facilities (defunding other projects).[citation needed]

Scarlet Alliance also employed two part-time bilingual migrant sex workers (Thai, Chinese and/or Korean) for nine years as part of a successful migration project with Empower Thailand. The project was informed by a steering committee of migrant sex workers across Australia and ensured migrant sex workers were represented in Australia's round table which met to response to trafficking.[citation needed]


Scarlet Alliance advocates on behalf of a membership consisting of:

The organisation aims to inform and influence the policies of:

Scarlet Alliance aims to promote an increased understanding of sex workers and the issues affecting them. The organisation lobbies for policies which recognize sex workers as self-determining agents, with the option to choose where and how they work. Scarlet Alliance has undertaken campaigns to increase occupational health and safety standards in the sex industry,[16] to recognize the human rights and labour rights of sex workers, and to repeal laws and policies which discriminate against sex workers.[17][18][19]


As a national organisation, Scarlet Alliance facilitates an annual membership forum which is attended by sex worker delegates from around Australia.[20] Every year the forum is held in a different state to maximise the inclusion of local sex workers. An Annual General Meeting (AGM) and public symposium or rally are also included within the forum's program.

Scarlet Alliance holds training,[21] participates in forums and presents workshops at universities in Australia and within the Asia/ Pacific region. The organisation aims to break down the stigma, negative stereotyping and popular misconceptions surrounding sex work.[22] Advocates from the organisation present evidence based research and information about who sex workers are, what is involved in sex work and why sex workers choose sex work.

Scarlet Alliance produces an annual magazine, proVision.[23] The magazine contains information about the organisation's activities, articles exploring current sex work policy issues and contributions from national and international sex workers. In keeping with the principle of community ownership, proVision is produced entirely by sex workers.

Scarlet Alliance networks with sister peer led sex worker organisations including:

Scarlet Alliance is a member of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers[25] and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).[26]


The Scarlet Alliance National Training and Assessment Program (SANTAP) contains two parts- a learning tool and an assessment framework. The assessment framework offers sex workers the opportunity to have their skills in peer education and community mobilisation formally recognised through recognition of prior learning by peer assessors. On completion of the multi-module assessment process, participants are awarded a nationally recognised diploma. The learning tool provides new or existing sex worker peer educators the required knowledge and grounding to apply for the diploma.

The Scarlet Alliance National Training Project (SANTP) is an assessment package consisting of 14 core modules and 4 elective modules. The project provides sex worker peer educators with an assessment tool which formally recognizes the unique skills they utilize in undertaking health promotion[27] and community development work within sex worker communities.[28] Participants in the training project are required to undertake an assessment process, supported by a qualified peer assessor, to achieve a nationally recognized Diploma of Community Education qualification.[29] To successfully achieve the qualification, participants are required to demonstrate and document how they have employed peer education principles in their work with sex workers.

Modules in the training project include:

The training package was developed as a strategy to assist sex worker organisations and projects to deliver a nationally consistent standard of peer education.[30]


Scarlet Alliance is a key advocate and participant[31] in HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention work in Australia. Sex worker communities in Australia have high rates of condom use, and low rates of STIs, including HIV/AIDS.[32] The Australian sex industry's low rates of STIs and HIV has been attributed to sex worker communities self organizing to form peer led sex worker advocacy organisations in the early years of the HIV epidemic. Sex worker organisations, including Scarlet Alliance, employed community development principles to educate sex workers, sex industry business owners and sex industry clients about the need to adopt safer sex practices and harm reduction strategies to avoid potentially contracting HIV.[33] Scarlet Alliance continues to lobby state and national governments about the difficulties of effective HIV prevention whilst sex work remains a criminalized occupation.[34][35][36]

Scarlet Alliance has advocated for the rights of migrant sex workers[37] for more than 15 years, and currently works to assist the Australian government[38] to develop anti-trafficking policy which does not single out the sex industry for "raids and rescues".[39][40][41] Scarlet Alliance advocates for the provision of work visas for migrant sex workers.[42] The organisation argues that through accessing legal migration options, migrant sex workers are less susceptible to entering into verbal "debt bondage" contracts[43] as an incentive to obtain passage to, and work within, Australia.

Scarlet Alliance's objectives, policies and current campaign issues are available on their website.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Scarlet Alliance History". Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers' Association. 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  2. ^ Kate DeMaere (16 October 2008). "Sex @ work: the ordinary, extraordinary lives of sex workers" (PDF). The HIV Consortium for Social and Policy Research on HIV, Hepatitis C and Related Diseases. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Who We Are" (in English, Thai, and Cantonese). Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Sex Industry Network, Adelaide". Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Respect Inc Information for workers in the sex industry – formerly provided by SQWISI". RESPECT Inc. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  6. ^ "About the Sex Worker Outreach Project". Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) ACT. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Welcome to Nothing About Us Without Us for the Sex Industry". Nothing About Us Without Us. 28 October 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  8. ^ "About the SWU". Sex Workers Union. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Welcome". Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  10. ^ Elena Jeffreys (13 March 2011). "It's time to fund sex worker NGOs". The Scavenger. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Australian Adult Entertainment Industry: About Us". Australian Adult Entertainment Industry Inc. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Review of National Competition Policy Arrangements". Queensland Adult Business Association Inc. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  13. ^ Amy Coulterman (18 April 2011). "Building Partnerships on HIV and Sex Work" (PDF). UNAIDS, UNFPA, APNSW. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  14. ^ Julie Dorf (June 2006). "Sex Worker Rights and Health: Where is the funding?" (Report). Sexual Health and Rights Project, Open Society Institute. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Recommendations regarding the "UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work (April 2007)"" (PDF). UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  16. ^ "A Guide to Best Practise Occupational Health and Safety in the Australian Sex Industry" (PDF). Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  17. ^ Kristine Klugman; Bill Rawlings (June 2011). "Report: Civil Liberties/Human Rights in the Northern Territory June 2011" (Executive Summary). Australian Council for Civil Liberties. p. 8. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  18. ^ Phoebe Stewart (14 May 2010). "Prostitution law puts sex workers at risk". ABC Darwin. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  19. ^ Emma Sleath (16 February 2010). "Sex worker rights highlighted in Alice". Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  20. ^ "- Sex Worker Events". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Education". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  22. ^ Jane Green; Christian Vega; Audry Autonomy; Elena Jeffreys (November 2011). "Listen to Sex Workers: Decriminalization and Anti-Discrimination Protection" (Article). Interface Journal, Volume 3 (2). pp. 271–287. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  23. ^ Emily Maguire (September 2010). "Body Politic" (Article). The Monthly magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  24. ^ Women's Network for Unity in Cambodia
  25. ^ "Asia Pacific Network of Sex Worker". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Our Members: Asia and the Pacific". Global Network of Sex Work Projects. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  27. ^ "The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion" (Charter). World Health Organization. 21 November 1986. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  28. ^ "SANTP: Scarlet Alliance National Training Project". Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Worker Association. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  29. ^ "Assessor Network". Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Worker Association. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Scarlet Alliance National Training Project: The Initial Project Aims". Scarlet Alliance, the Australian sex workers association. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  31. ^ "Members". Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  32. ^ John Godwin (2003). "Two Steps Back?". Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  33. ^ "National HIV Strategy 2005-2008: Revitalizing Australia's Response" (National Strategy (Briefing paper)). Commonwealth of Australia. 2005. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  34. ^ "Female Sex Workers". What works for women and girls. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  35. ^ "Violence against sex workers and HIV prevention" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2005. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  36. ^ Elena Jeffreys. "Criminalisation harms sex workers". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  37. ^ Elena Jeffreys; Roberta Perkins (August 2011). "Sex Work, Migration, HIV and Trafficking: Chinese and other Migrant Sex Workers in Australia". Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  38. ^ Lauren Renshaw (2010). "Sex worker migration and vulnerabilities to trafficking survey" (PDF). Australian Government, Australian Institute of Criminology. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  39. ^ Nathalie Rothschild (2 November 2010). "How NGOs are adopting a missionary position in Asia". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  40. ^ Laura Agustín (21 August 2011). "Even sex-trafficked brothel workers reject raids and rescues". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  41. ^ Aziza Ahmed (26 March 2012). "The Unintended Consequences of Nick Kristof's Anti-Sex Trafficking Crusade". NY Times eXaminer/The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  42. ^ Elena Jeffreys (4 April 2008). "Truth and visas will set Asian sex workers free". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  43. ^ Alison Murray (1988). "Debt Bondage and Trafficking: Don't Believe the Hype" (Article). pp. 7 & 13. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  44. ^ "Objectives". Retrieved 17 June 2016.