Sex work complaints ‘exaggerated’

Bryce Soraru has won his way to Gallipoli for Anzac Day.
Bryce Soraru has won his way to Gallipoli for Anzac Day.

Ms Taylor, who manages the WA sex worker support agency, said decriminalisation rather than more policing would provide better outcomes for sex workers and the wider community.

‘If there is a crack down in one area it will pop up in another,’ she said.

Ms Taylor said decriminalising sex work would enable better management of the industry, but it was essential for sex workers and support agencies to be involved in forming the legislation.

‘Sex workers need to be involved in that conversation to find the most appropriate place and set up to operate,’ she said.

‘What we would really like to see is a proper legislative model in place that suits sex workers and the community.’

Highgate residents recently presented their concerns about sex workers in Highgate at a City of Vincent council meeting.

Robert McCormack, who owns property in Smith Street, told the Guardian Express that while street sex workers had always been a problem in the area; women had recently started to work during the day.

‘There are used syringes and condoms in the area,’ he said.

Lincoln Street resident Martin Clifford described the problem as ‘continuous, brazen, anti-social, threatening, dangerous and disturbing.’

‘To be realistic, we will never get rid of prostitution but police have to be serious about the issue,’ he said.

But Ms Taylor said complaints about sex workers, particularly those working on Highgate streets, littering streets with drug paraphernalia and condoms were ‘exaggerated’.

‘We regularly go to those areas and we do not believe the extent of the problem as it is has been reported,’ Ms Taylor said.

She said a minority of sex workers traded on the street.

Vincent Mayor Alannah MacTiernan said the City was aware of the problem and was considering road inspections as well as CCTV in the area.

‘We will probably do some road blocks shortly’