Sex Worker Vaccination advocacy statement Dec 2021. 澳洲性工作者社群团体给政府的一份联合公开声明 :强制接种疫苗非正确的公共卫生政策 | Respect QLD

Scarlet Alliance is the peak body for sex workers and sex worker organisations in Australia. This is a national statement by Scarlet Alliance and its member organisations, including Respect Inc. The sex worker community understands the public health challenges of this pandemic and have a long track record in effectively responding to other public health challenges and our responses to COVID-19 have been no different. Our community have been vaccinated at high rates due to proactive responses by sex workers and effective peer education throughout the pandemic. 

The privacy, health and safety of sex workers is endangered by the current vaccine mandates and requirements to show identifying proof of vaccine in order to work within jurisdictional public health directions and therefore we do not support the mandates. It is key that governments recognise our substantial expertise in health promotion and work in consultation with sex worker organisations to implement evidence-based policy.

Sex workers in Australia have long demonstrated an understanding of how to manage public health crises, and have implemented best practice workplace health and safety  techniques to minimise the spread of infection such as enhanced screening measures, increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols.

During the current pandemic, sex worker organisations quickly took action to produce guides for the community on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 when at work; we acted promptly to ensure those materials were translated to key community languages and disseminated them to our community to ensure safety. We have facilitated peer information, skill-sharing, and ongoing support that has ensured sex workers are equipped with up to date information on restrictions, rights and responsibilities.

Despite an overwhelmingly positive response and no evidence to date of transmission of COVID-19 in a sex work setting, many jurisdictions have enforced vaccine mandates to sex workers, including the requirement to show identifying proof of vaccine certificates in order to work.

Sex workers have been subject to health-related mandates before, and continue to be subjected to them in some jurisdictions. Evidence demonstrates that health-related mandates often work contrary to their stated intentions, instead creating barriers to health and access to health services, advice and support. For example, evidence shows that mandatory testing laws for HIV and STIs among sex workers have consistently proven to be a barrier to otherwise successful peer education, prevention and voluntary testing and treatment in Australia. Vaccine mandates for sex workers fail to recognise that Australian sex workers have a proven history of highly effective peer education and consistent voluntary uptake of harm reduction practices for occupational health and safety. 

In most jurisdictions, mandatory vaccination forces sex workers to interact with a system that has no accommodations around crucial safety and privacy concerns. Identifying legal and personal details associated with vaccination certificates must be recorded or sighted by owner/operators such as brothel management, putting individual sex workers at risk. The option to request a pseudonymous individual healthcare identifier (IHI) requires sex workers to navigate an inaccessible and confusing series of steps, and (at the time of writing, 6 Dec 2021) there does not appear to be an option to connect it with a vaccination certificate. The pseudonymous IHI (individual healthcare identifier) process is barely understood by government staff, and (at time of writing, 6 Dec 2021) takes so long to action that it is functionally useless for someone needing to return to work. The process itself counter-productively connects working names with legal names without regard for sex worker privacy and safety. Given the high levels of stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers in our society and the lack of consideration around privacy and access, the risk to our community posed by the expectation to show proof of vaccination with legally identifying details in order to return to work is severe.

Sex workers in Australia do not underestimate the challenges of COVID-19. Our community have been vaccinated at high rates in the absence of any mandate and have played a key role in developing and implementing effective harm reduction strategies. Evidence-based policy cannot be left behind in this crisis. Governments must work in consultation with Scarlet Alliance and our member organisations to ensure that the response to COVID-19 does not put the health and safety of sex workers at risk.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Recognise the significant evidence of successful management of COVID-19 by sex workers in Australia and sex worker organisations through the voluntary uptake of harm reduction strategies and consistent compliance with state and federal COVID-19 measures.
  2. Consult with Scarlet Alliance and our member organisations to ensure that public health directives do not endanger the privacy, health and safety of sex workers.
  3. Ensure that public health directives do not, by default, create a two-tiered workforce  due to the criminalisation of some areas of sex work.
  4. Ensure that public health directives do not require sex workers to show identifying legal information to their clients or employers, or to connect their working names with their legal names at any level.
  5. Consult with Scarlet Alliance and member organisations to ensure sex worker access to accurate public health information, including in languages other than English.
  6. Consult with Scarlet Alliance to implement strategies to alleviate anxiety for the vaccine-hesitant and promote voluntary uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations.
  7. Recognise the substantial health promotion expertise of sex workers and sex worker organisations and ensure that the response to COVID-19 is in line with evidence-based health promotion.

Scarlet Alliance 绯红联盟是澳大利亚性服务工作者和性工作者组织的最高机构。这是一份由绯红联盟及其成员组织的全国性声明。性服务工作者组群深知这一次新型冠状病毒所带来前所未有的公共卫生挑战,过去,性工作者们总是能有效率地面对各种公共卫生危机,所以这一次的新冠疫情也不例外。在整个疫情期间,因为性工作者们积极主动应对疫情和有效的同侪辅导机制,目前性服务行业中有高百分比的工作者已完成两剂新冠疫苗的施打。

 

目前在澳洲全国各地方政府公共卫生机构的防疫政令下,强制性的疫苗接种要求和必须出示敏感个人资料的疫苗接种证明的政策会妨害性服务工作者的隐私、健康和安全,因此我们不支持这些防疫政令。我们敦促各州或领地政府重视我们性工作业者在公共卫生宣导方面的丰富经验,并与性工作者组织进行咨询,以完善公共卫生政策。

 

澳大利亚的性服务工作者长期以来一直展现出对管控公共卫生危机的理解和应对能力,并以最佳的公共卫生策略来最大幅度地减少疾病传播的风险,维持性服务工作场所的卫生和安全。例如: 加强筛查措施、增加使用个人防护装备 (PPE) 和加强清洁和卫生规程。

 

在当前新冠疫病流行期间,性工作者组织迅速采取行动,为业内工作者制定如何在工作中防止疫病传播的指南;我们迅速采取行动,确保将这些防疫资讯以浅显易懂的语言、并翻译成其他语言,以传达给业内的工作者们,确保工作安全。我们利用同侪资讯互享、技能共享的方式,不间断的支持和确保性工作者能掌握最新的防疫限制、权利和责任的资讯。

 

尽管获得了压倒性的正面响应并且迄今为止没有证据显示新冠疫病在性工作环境中传播,许多地方政府机构仍强制要求性工作者接种疫苗,包括要求出示敏感个人资料的疫苗接种证明才能继续工作。

 

性服务业以往经常因与公共卫生相关的政策因素而遭到限制,这样的情况今时今日在一些地方政府管辖的区域仍正在发生。研究证据显示,通常公共卫生政策的施行往往造成与其政策当初拟定的意图背道而驰的结果,形成民众使用医疗健康服务、建议和支持的壁垒,反而造成对公共卫生保健的负面影响。例如,根据研究,强制性工作者检测 HIV(人类免疫缺陷病毒)和 STI(性传染病)的公卫政策多次被证明是在澳大利亚成功进行同伴教育、疾病预防和自愿检测和治疗的障碍。针对性工作者强制性的新冠疫苗接种政令完全忽视了澳洲的性服务业内向来高效率的同侪辅导机制,与为职业健康和安全始终如一地自发性采用减少危害的做法。

 

目前在大多数地方州或领地政府辖区实施的强制性工作者接种新冠疫苗的政策细节中完全没有顾虑到性服务工作者相当重视的个人安全和隐私问题。性工作者被迫必须向 业主/经营者(例如大院老板或经理)出示会暴露敏感个人资料的疫苗接种证明书(vaccination certificate),因此不利于性工作者本身。如果任何性工作者申请可匿名的个人医疗保健标识码(IHI)却又需经过一系列繁琐而且令人困惑的步骤,并且目前的疫苗接种证明书仍无提供可使用个人医疗保健标识码(IHI)代替真名的选项。政府公务人员本身几乎不熟悉如何受理匿名的个人医疗保健标识码(IHI)的申请流程,而且提交申请后等待回覆的处理时间太长,以至于对于需要尽快返工赚钱生活的人来说,实际上毫无用处!这个过程本身会适得其反地将我们工作时的化名与合法名称联结起来,牺牲了性工作者的隐私和安全。鉴于我们性工作者在现实社会中仍面临高度的污名化与歧视,为了能回岗工作的疫苗证明书却无法保护自身的隐私安全时,我们性工作者族群则需承担很大的风险!

 

澳大利亚的性工作者们并没有低估COVID-19新冠疫情的挑战。我们的社群在没有任何政策性强迫的情况下自发提高了新冠疫苗接种的比例,并在制定和实施有效的减低疫情危害的策略方面发挥了关键作用。在这场危机中,依循根据的正确防疫政策更是重要。我们强烈呼吁政府积极与Scarlet Alliance绯红全国性工作者联盟和我们的成员组织协商,以确保政府处理疫情的应对政策能避免增加性工作者的健康和安全风险。

政策建议:

 

  1. 承认澳大利亚性工作者和性工作者组织通过自愿采用减少危害策略并始终遵守州和联邦 COVID-19 措施成功管理 COVID-19 的重要证据。
  2. 咨询 Scarlet Alliance 和我们的成员组织,以确保公共卫生指令不会危及性工作者的隐私、健康和安全。
  3. 确保公共卫生指令不会因缺乏完善考虑的情况下造成两种阶级的性工作者族群,一些性工作者因此被迫冒险在触法的情况下工作。
  4. 确保公共卫生指令不要求性工作者向其客户或雇主出示可暴露真实身份的敏感法律个资,避免任何政府级别将其工作化名与法定姓名联系起来。
  5. 与 Scarlet Alliance 和成员组织协商,以确保性工作者获得准确的公共卫生信息,包括英语以外的语言。
  6. 与 Scarlet Alliance 协商实施策略,以减轻对疫苗犹豫不决的人的焦虑,并促进自发性接种 COVID-19 疫苗。
  7. 承认性工作者和性工作者组织在健康促进方面的丰富专业知识,并确保对COVID-19 的防疫施政是依据有科学根据的公共卫生宣导原则。
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