A sex worker says money exchanging hands does not mean “blanket consent” and women in the industry are not taken seriously when reporting assaults.
A sex worker says money exchanging hands does not mean “blanket consent” and women in the industry are not taken seriously when reporting assaults.

Sex workers are not ‘up for anything’

Despite some men's expectations sex workers are "up for anything", an industry insider says there's no such thing as "blanket consent" for all services.

Sydney independent sex worker Gala Vanting, who tours Australia as part of her job, says women in the industry are subjected to a double standard and not taken seriously by police when sexually assaulted by men.

Speaking out amid claims NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen raped a sex worker at a lookout in the Blue Mountains 18 months ago - allegations which he vigorously denies - BDSM service provider Ms Vanting said: "No one should be forced to reinstate a boundary, or be forced to defend them.

Ms Vanting says women in the industry are not treated equally by police when reporting sex assaults.
Ms Vanting says women in the industry are not treated equally by police when reporting sex assaults.

"Money changing hands is not blanket consent to all services, only to services that have been negotiated beforehand," she said.

"Consent at one time does not mean consent at another time for the same act. Otherwise that's a breach of contract and boundaries."

Ms Vanting says workers are often reluctant to complain to the police if they have been violated because of the stigma associated with their line of work, or if they are working in jurisdictions where sex work is illegal.

"Sometimes our work is criminal in some states, we'd be admitting a crime if we went to the police, and let's face it, not all sex workers go to the police as they do not believe they will be treated equally to women who aren't from marginalised communities."

Ms Vanting says women in the industry are often reluctant to report crimes to the police because of the stigma attached to their profession. Picture: Laura du Ve.
Ms Vanting says women in the industry are often reluctant to report crimes to the police because of the stigma attached to their profession. Picture: Laura du Ve.

"We constantly see women in the business not delivered justice," she said.

She said sex workers learn on the job or glean tips from other workers on how to boost personal security, such as soliciting taxi drivers as unofficial security guards, or employing a buddy system to tell peers where they are meeting clients.

Ms Vanting, who tours Sydney, The East Coast, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne for work, acknowledges not everyone is in a financial position to reject work.

"I have been a sex worker my whole career and I chose when I want to work and when it's safe to," she says.

"Yes I have been in situations where my boundaries have not been respected but I kick clients out and end the session early if that happens."

Gala Vanting, who is in her mid 30s, says not all sex workers are in a financial position to turn down work.
Gala Vanting, who is in her mid 30s, says not all sex workers are in a financial position to turn down work.

Ms Vanting spoke out after Labor MP Trish Doyle used parliamentary privilege to reveal rape allegations after speaking with the woman which forced Mr Johnsen to later identify himself as the accused man.

The Upper Hunter MP strenuously denies the rape allegation but offered to step aside from his parliamentary secretary role and not sit in the Nationals party room or the joint room party room while police investigate.

The woman has told the ABC Mr Johnsen "sexted" her during parliamentary Question Time and messaged her a video of him masturbating in the loo.

It is alleged they met after the woman, a mother of one, responded to his online advertisement offering "cash for bbbj" (fellatio without a condom) in the classifieds adverts section of the Locanto website in August, 2019.

 

Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen who has been accused of raping a sex worker at a lookout in the Blue Mountains — allegations which he vigorously denies.
Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen who has been accused of raping a sex worker at a lookout in the Blue Mountains — allegations which he vigorously denies.

 

The ABC claims they exchanged hundreds of online messages and text messages between August and September, 2019.

"When he said he was an MP at first I thought, no," the woman told the ABC.

"I thought it was somebody trying to set him up because I thought he'd sent photos of himself when I hadn't even asked for one.

"I didn't really care much for his personal information. I was there for a purpose."

The woman claims they arranged to meet on September 15, 2019 for a paid sexual encounter.

They agreed to meet at the quiet and remote Yellow Rock lookout in the Blue Mountains.

It was here the woman alleges the assault took place.

Mr Johnsen vociferously denies the claim.

 

Ms Vanting says sex work suits her because of the hours and freedom to be her own boss. Picture: Laura du Ve.
Ms Vanting says sex work suits her because of the hours and freedom to be her own boss. Picture: Laura du Ve.

After their meeting at Yellow Rock lookout, Mr Johnsen invited the woman to his smart Potts Point unit and sent photos of the rooftop with harbour views.

It is understood she declined but claims to have met him again in the Blue Mountains on September 23, where she says she performed paid, consensual oral sex.

The MP and the woman met a final time at Lennox Bridge on Thursday, September 26, where she alleges they had paid, consensual sexual intercourse.

She claims he made only a partial payment for this third meeting and stopped responding to her text messages.

Mr Johnsen insists he is devastated by the allegations.

"I have voluntarily spoken with NSW Police and I have and will continue to fully co-operate with their inquiries," he said in a statement issued to the media.

"I am confident any investigation will conclude that I am an innocent party."

"Without admission, I have chosen to step aside from my Parliamentary Secretary role, and will not sit in the Nationals Party Room nor the Joint Party Room."

Originally published as Sex workers not 'up for anything'

BDSM service provider Gala Vanting says money changing hands is not “blanket consent” for all services.
BDSM service provider Gala Vanting says money changing hands is not “blanket consent” for all services.
Ms Vanting says sex workers learn on the job or glean tips from other workers on how to boost personal security and will employ taxi drivers as unofficial security guards.
Ms Vanting says sex workers learn on the job or glean tips from other workers on how to boost personal security and will employ taxi drivers as unofficial security guards.

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