Profile: Social Worker in the Department of Health

This person cannot be named due to legal reasons.

Tell me a bit about your job?

Social worker employed by the department of health working in the area of women’s health and sexual health. Many of the clients I work with are involved in prostitution and have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. I also work in the area of sexual health including clients who have been diagnosed with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The opening of legal brothels in your personal opinion is it a good move or bad by state governments.

I think it’s a  good move because the profession is a profession that has happened for many years and because it’s going to happen anyway at least it can happen in a safe environment and can be regulated and women are then exposed to less abuse as they would because they are protected within legalised brothels. They offer a safer environment in being on the streets, there are still risk factors. It’s still not a completely safe environment but it can be regulated and women are then exposed to less abuse as they would be protected within legalised brothels.

What are some of the issues faced by prostitutes?

Many of these women have already had a history of childhood abuse they are often very disempowered women and are also involved in drugs and alcohol and are involved in prostitution to supplement their abuse. Many of these women are also involve in abusive relationships and can at times be encouraged by their partner into prostitution to supplement their drug and alcohol abuse. I come across many women who have also had babies; some of these women are often mothers.

What are the dangers on the streets for prostitutes?

Women exposed to significant violence, less protection in general.

Do you think there are enough programs set up to assist women who wish to stop?

There are a lot of services out there with health and non government organizations, however many of the issues that brought women into prostitution in the first place need to be addressed in order to address the dis empowerment that these women experiences, many of these women have histories of childhood abuse, drug ad alcohol backgrounds and other multi layered problems that have brought them into this proffesion in the firstplace. There are significant judgement and stigma applied to these women who already have very low self esteem anyway.

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