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Credit: File image. His crimes include the attempted rape of an intoxicated man sleeping in a Northbridge park, a violent sex attack on a woman at a Perth train station, numerous counts of indecent dealings for propositioning and harassing women, and wilful exposure.
He was jailed indefinitely in and was the first person to be prosecuted under WA's Dangerous Sex Offenders legislation. Some of these include a curfew, no alcohol, no pornography, and no unsupervised access to women — except in the case of sex workers, which is allowed by approval of a supervision order officer. Despite huge uproar from the wider community and urges by prominent figures including the Opposition's Nick Goiran, Attorney-General John Quigley refuses to appeal the release conditions. Under WA legislation, sex work and its related activities are mostly criminalised, and is policed heavy-handedly and inconsistently.
Many WA sex workers have reported experiencing police harassment and exploitation, and are hesitant to report crimes committed against them for fear of being prosecuted themselves. They face discrimination and stigma on a daily basis when accessing various community services such as healthcare, welfare, accommodation, education, and the court system.
Our archaic laws put sex workers in harm's way as it is, yet Justice Derrick and Attorney-General Quigley are seemingly fine with throwing sex workers under the proverbial bus in the case of Latimer. This is where you are so very wrong. Your very roles exist to ensure the application of fairness and justice. Sex workers are members of the community as well, yet their rights have been disregarded in this abhorrent decision. This statement equates sex workers to human shields, scapegoated to ensure the rest of the community is spared.
Payment does not equal automatic consent. Sex workers are already disadvantaged when it comes to reporting crimes committed against them, so what about the risk posed by Latimer to their lives? The only way the systematic oppression, scapegoating and discrimination of sex workers will cease is through the decriminalisation of sex work in WA and ensuring sex workers are protected by the introduction of specific anti-discrimination laws.
Until this occurs, sex workers will continue to walk the fine line of having to choose between what is legal, and what is safe. It is disappointing to see that sex work stigma is still rife among those appointed to govern and protect our human rights. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence supporting decriminalisation, the tireless lobbying of sex work rights activists, and the progressiveness of other states in Australia towards decriminalising sex work in recent times, it seems WA still has a long way to go.
In harm's way in WA: Sex workers are not society's scapegoats. Please try again later. By Emma Softly July 18, — 6. Save Log in , register or subscribe to save articles for later. Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size. Latimer has offences dating back to the s and has spent most of his adult life in prison.
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