Organised by a collective of current and former sex workers who promote civil rights in the industry, the impetus for the festival was to give a voice to sex workers. The festival receives no corporate sponsorship or government funding.
The event, ‘Ask A Sex Worker A Question’, invited members of the public to ask any question in exchange for a gold coin donation.
“''We’re tired of other people talking about us,” a major newspaper quoted event co-organiser Tabitha as saying.
“We’re a very diverse group of workers,” she said.
The stars of the panel were Australian adult actor Angela White, our most popular internet porn star, and dominatrix Lady Ambrosia Noir, who, along with the rest of the panel answered questions about their ideal day at work, labour rights in the industry and depictions of sex workers.
The panel was asked about the portrayal of sex workers in the Craig Thomson scandal.
Private escort Cassie said she found the emphasis on Thomson’s alleged use of sex workers, rather than of misusing his credit card, offensive.
“''Particularly the way most media threw around the term ‘hooker’. Sex work is a legal service.
“We want people to hear from us, instead of thinking they can speak on our behalf,” she said.
Other events at this week’s festival included a historical sex work walking tour of the city, a forum today at Melbourne University on sex work policy and law, a film screening at ACMI and workshops for sex workers.
The festival culminates with International Whores’ Day on Saturday, a celebration of sex workers’ rights, celebrated locally with a Red Umbrella Rally on the steps of Parliament House.