The future of (sex) work

Work [Noun]: Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

What is work? To some it means doing certain tasks, ultimately creating or delivering predictable products or services to someone else. To others, it’s pursuing a passion.

Regardless of whether or not you love your job, you’ve got the right to be safe while you do it.

I’ve learned a lot about work from Abi D’Winters and Arianna Gold. They’re both ‘fly-in, fly-out’ (FIFO) workers, a specific contingent of Australia’s workforce. Many FIFO workers are in it for the money, but Arianna and Abi adore their jobs. Arianna is based in Queensland and works interstate, where it’s safer to do her job. Abi lives in South Australia with her husband, but she can’t work there; it’s illegal for her to live on her earnings. Both women adhere to Australian tax rules, yet are treated as second-class citizens when it comes to rights at work.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of sex work in Australia.

There’s only one state in the country where working in this occupation, or partaking in these services, doesn’t implicate you in some form of criminal behaviour: New South Wales. That’s why the FIFO lifestyle is so common for many sex workers across the country. What unites all these frequent flyers, regardless of where they base their office, is their refusal to accept harmful ideologies that surround sexual commerce and prohibit safe working environments.

The laws in Australia (excluding NSW) prevent Arianna, Abi and their counterparts, across many nuanced roles, from safely earning an income, putting them at risk because they don’t have recourse at work. To progress policy reform in Australia, a key factor is missing in legislative debates: evidence and discussion of actual risks from the workers themselves,drawing on their lived experience.

Read the rest at Antithesis Journal.