What is Respect Inc?
Respect Inc is a non-profit, peer-based organisation focused on protecting and promoting the rights, health and wellbeing of Queensland sex workers. We are independent from police and the government, and do not operate to regulate the sex industry in any way. We are a sex worker rights-positive and rights-focused community organisation. Through our funding we provide a range of services and programs aimed at addressing our community’s needs, as informed by them. We recognise that historically, sex workers have successfully educated each other about workplace health and safety and in doing so, have demonstrated that peer education is the most effective way for us to improve this. We continue in this tradition, providing a peer-only safe space at all our offices and most events.
Want to know more about Respect Inc? We are committed to being transparent and accountable to our members so check out our…
- Respect Inc Constitution Amended Nov 2011
- Respect Strategic Plan 2018 -2021
- Respect Policy Manual
- Respect Procedures Manual
History of Respect Inc
Respect Inc developed in the two years after the closure of SQWISI (Self-Health for Queensland Workers in the Sex Industry) in 2007.
Crimson Coalition (previously SSPAN – Sexual Service Providers’ Advocacy Network) was established in Brisbane in 2004 to provide sex workers’ voices for law reform activities. SQWISI appeared to be moving away from a peer focus on their management committee and in recruitment of health educators and Crimson Coalition members were eager for sex workers to present their views to government themselves.
United Sex Workers North Queensland was established in 2007 as a direct result of the closure of the North Queensland SQWISI offices in March of that year. Our members were directed by the needs of our peers for workplace health and safety training and peer support.
Both groups were members of Scarlet Alliance, the peak national sex workers’ organisation. Together we contributed to the Sex Workers Assessment of Needs (SWAN) Review conducted by BB Professional Services, independent consultants who were contracted by Queensland Health to talk to sex workers and other stakeholders and identify our needs for health services. We also produced the Scarlet Alliance, Crimson Coalition and United Sex Workers North Queensland “Submission to the SWAN Review of Sex Worker Services in Queensland”, May 2008 .
United Sex Workers North Queensland became incorporated and began working with Crimson Coalition to establish a state-wide organisation which was proposed to be called Sex Workers United. In keeping with the recommendations of the SWAN Report, Scarlet Alliance, United Sex Workers North Queensland and Crimson Coalition actively participated within the SWAN Working Group facilitated by Queensland Health. Queensland Health then made a commitment to supporting a community capacity development approach: to establish a community-based affirmative action sex worker organisation able to deliver a funded program of HIV, hepatitis C and sexual health promotion services.
Respect Inc was incorporated in October 2009 and set about establishing the offices, resources and infrastructure to deliver health promotion services to Queensland sex workers. Since that time, we have had recurrent service agreements with Queensland Health.
We envisage a society where we as sex workers have equal status in society and are free to pursue our occupation safely, on our own terms without fear of criminalisation, stigma or discrimination. Our vision is for sex work to be recognised as work and as such is fully decriminalised.
We are Queensland sex workers voicing our need for human, industrial and workplace rights for all sex workers. We aim to improve the lives of sex workers by eliminating stigma and discrimination via social, legislative and political change.
At Respect Inc our work is guided by the following core values:
- ‘Sex Work is Work’ and ‘Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights’
Recognition of this is the first step in reducing stigma against sex workers because it is stigma that enables and justifies the discrimination and violence that we experience.
- ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ and ‘Our Bodies, Our Business’
Sex workers should be involved at leadership level in all decision-making that affects us.
- Fighting for Full Decriminalisation
This is the best legal framework for sex workers as it is the only one that will enable us to work freely and safely, on our own terms.
- To provide a range of education, information and resources that will support sex workers and increase their awareness of occupational health, safety, emotional wellbeing, legal and taxation rights and responsibilities, in a non-judgmental and non-invasive environment.
- To provide appropriate health promotion programs to sex workers.
- To operate within a context of accountability, equity and transparency.
- To recognise that by providing education, information and support to sex workers, sex workers will be effectively resourced as safer sex educators to pass on those educational benefits to the larger general population.
- To operate within an affirmative action approach, that is, with all direct services by peers (sex workers past or present) within all levels of the organisation, including management, staff and volunteers, and to foster a culture of inclusiveness and mutual respect within the diverse community of sex workers.
- To lobby government to provide sex workers with legal avenues to work within any area of the Queensland sex work trade/industry as they choose (e.g. escort, in-house, agency, private/sole operator, co-operatives and/or street) without fear of arrest or prosecution for criminal offenses related to sex work business activities.
- To provide a legitimate voice for Queensland sex workers advocating for legal and other social policies to support sex workers’ human, civil and workplace rights and access to remedies without discrimination, including programs and initiatives that aim to reduce discrimination and stigma against sex workers, past and present.
- To support and liaise with national, state and regional sex worker rights groups in the development of networks, programs and objectives.
- To build and foster constructive relationships with all stakeholders for the benefit of sex workers.