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Sex workers protest outside parliament

Jun 2, 2009, Sydney -- Sex workers and the Scarlet Alliance in Australia took to the streets to mark International Whores’ Day and call on the Government to extend anti-discrimination laws to protect sex workers.

Decked out in tight fitting, red outfits and shouting, "No bad whores, just bad laws", Sydney sex workers have protested outside NSW Parliament demanding an end to discrimination.

To mark International Whores Day on Tuesday, the Scarlet Alliance called for the government to extend anti-discrimination laws to protect sex workers.

Alliance president Elena Jeffreys said NSW sex workers were discriminated against by banks and lenders when applying for loans, and by newspapers which charged inflated prices for sex workers' ads.

"In NSW we're not covered by anti-discrimination or equal opportunity laws which cover everybody else, particularly when it comes to loan lenders, banks, local council and newspapers who can discriminate without recourse," she told AAP.

"In Queensland and the ACT there is anti-discrimination protection parity but in NSW sex workers are charged 10 times more to advertise."

Sex worker Ivy McIntosh says she has experienced first hand discrimination when it comes to newspaper advertising.

"You ring up and ask to place an ad for a fridge and it's $40. Then you ask for a sex ad and it's ten times that much," she told AAP.

"Sometimes the newspapers say you have to put an ad in for at least a week, so you have to work every day that week to make the money back."

Joining in a chant of "Sex workers' rights are human rights", Ms McIntosh said there was a misconception about sex workers' income, which had led banks to deny them loans.

"Some banks don't want to give sex workers loans because they think we don't have a reliable income," she said.

"But sex work is a real job, we pay tax, we want houses, we own houses and we don't default on our loans."

Source: Ninemsn - Sydney