Media Release 2013

Download media release as PDF.

Media Release
‘It’s not what you think’: Melbourne Festival of Sex Work 2013
Thursday 30 May – Monday 3 June

When you think of a sex worker, what do you imagine? The media is full of  stereotypical images of sex workers, but do they reflect the reality? The Festival of Sex Work is here to explode your preconceptions and give you the opportunity to hear about sex work from those who know it best – the sex workers themselves.

The Festival is a celebration of the lives, skills, culture and community of sex workers, and features events including a Sex Work Historical Walking Tour, Digital Storytelling Film Screening, ‘Ask a Sex Worker a Question’ panel, and the Sex Work Research Symposium. Some events are public, and some events are sex-worker only. This event is 100% sex worker organised with 0% funding or sponsorship.

The Festival of Sex Work is organised by Vixen, a group run by and for sex-workers in Victoria. Vixen member, Tabitha Burke, says: ‘We are a group of workers who share one common goal – we want to speak out against the stigma associated with sex work. We’re tired of other people thinking they have the right to speak for us, or presuming to know what’s best for us. We hope this Festival will provide sex workers with a safe space to meet and share ideas, as well as a space for the wider community to get beyond the media stereotypes and see us for what we are – a diverse community who deserve better treatment than they’re currently getting.’
‘The festival has been put together by a passionate group of sex workers,’ added Vixen member Christian Vega. ‘Victoria is one of the only states in Australia without a funded peer-based organisation of sex workers – Melbourne was the first place in the world to fund sex workers to support each other and it is sad that we have forgotten this history. We are sick of sex workers being shut out of the discourse that shapes our work. We are not voiceless victims, and it’s unnecessary that these conversations about us occur without us.’
For more information and a full calendar of events, please visit our website:

For further media information or interviews, please contact:

Christian: 0403 941 185

Tabitha: 0404 401 118


Festival Of Sex Work 2013


More details on the way soon!

Festival of Sex Work on The Project (Channel 10)

Rachel Wotton and Christian talking about sex work, decriminalisation and anti-discrimination legislation on national prime time TV. Special appearance by Janelle Fawkes, CEO of the Scarlet Alliance, the National Association of Australian Sex Workers

Festival of Sex Work in The Age

Sex workers shine light on their trade with Q&A
Kylie Northover

May 30, 2012

Forum: Angela White, Cassie and Christian.
Forum: Angela White, Cassie and Christian. Photo: Craig Abraham
A PORN star, an escort, a tantric practitioner, a dominatrix and a rent boy walk into a bar … and willingly answer any question thrown at them.
At least that’s what happened last night at a public forum in the Secret Society Bar in Bourke Street.
In a bid to demystify their profession, the sex workers appeared on a panel open to the public, as part of this week’s Festival of Sex Work, the first festival of its kind in Australia.
Organised by Vixen, 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.
Last night’s 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,” said event co-organiser Tabitha. ”We’re a very diverse group of workers.”
The stars of last night’s 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 Age asked the panel 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,” she said. Male escort Christian, who has worked in the industry for 15 years, said: ”We want people to hear from us, instead of thinking they can speak on our behalf.”
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.
”There’s a lot of stigma around that word,” said Tabitha.
”We’re trying to reclaim it back for ourselves.”

Festival of Sex Work on the Naughty Rude Show!

HomeThe Naughty Rude Show

Festival of Sex Work

Submitted by patricianiklas on Wed, 06/06/2012 – 10:29

We chat to Christian, Nada and Leni from the inaugural Festival of Sex Work. We discuss the events of the festival, why it’s important for sex workers to tell their own stories, and why sex  workers are called sex workers in the first place. 

Christian Vega on 3CR’s ‘Done By Law’

Podcast of an interview with Christian Vega on 3CR’s ‘Done By Law’ program on Monday night about the festival, sex work and the law.


Written by Annie on June 5, 2012

Last week venues around Melbourne hosted talks, public forums and screenings for the city’s firstFestival of Sex Work. Sex worker and advocate Christian Vega from VIXEN (Victorian Sex Industry Network) joins Done By Law to talk about how current laws and policies affect the rights of sex workers in Victoria.

Rachel Wotton Interviewed on RRR

Audio: Sex worker Rachel Wotton is an advocate for inclusion

Rachel Wotton is a sex worker from Sydney who specializes in providing services for people with disability. She’s also the subject of Scarlet Road, a film that follows her as she smashes the stereotypes surrounding her line of work. Wotton talks to Radiotherapy about being an advocate for inclusion and fighting the stigma surrounding her profession by pointing out that there’s more parallels between sex work and accountancy than you think.

Calendar of Festival Events

This is a calendar of the Melbourne Festival of Sex Work events that are open to the public. 

Click on the event to find more information. 

Sex Worker Only
Saturday, 26th of May

27th of May

Exhibit Closed
28th of May
Sex Work & Self Care
Stripper School 101
Skill Share



Tuesday, 29th of May
Sex Worker Art Practice
Writing Workshop
30th of May
Sex Worker
 Performance Night
31st of May
Intro to Sex Work Orgs
Sex Work Advocacy
What’s next Victoria?
1st of June
2nd of June


Before sex worker organisations were put together, before peer education was identified as best practice, before the internet- sex workers have shared information in order to better educate themselves on how to work, how to look after each other and how to improve our skills.  

And this continues today- in the near absence of recognised and accredited professional development for sex workers, we are sharing skills in the back rooms of brothels, forming networks to protect each other through Facebook and getting together to learn new and better ways of working.  

The festival of Sex Work would like to contribute to this proud tradition by holding workshops facilitated for sex workers by sex workers.    
Workshop Topics:
Monday 28th of May

Skill Share/How to Hustle
This session will be an open discussion about different sex working skills. You can ask for or offer information/skills and support.
 Stripper School 101

Sex Work & Self Care
Sex work is, among many things, a caring profession.This workshop will discuss the ways – big and small – in which we can care for ourselves and each other as sex workers.
Tuesday 29th of May
Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop
Facilitated by bestselling author, Kate Holden, this workshop focuses on the importance of sex worker stories, some tips and exercises about writing memories, whether they’re for you in private or for publication.
Sex Worker Art Practice

 Thursday 31st of May
Introductions to Sex Worker Organisations
Come learn about the Scarlet Alliance, the national association of sex workers and meet Vixen Victoria, a sex worker organisation who is putting on the Festival of Sex Work.
Sex Work Advocacy
How can we affect social change and defend the human rights of sex workers? This workshop looks at advocacy and how we can work towards achieving more as a community.
Where to next?  Sex Worker activism & advocacy in Victoria
To effect change around sex work-related issues in Victoria, we need to work together.  This session will be a brain-storming session to consolidate our strengths and to work out what we, as a community, want to see happen.

Workshops are sex worker only events. 

To register your attendance of these workshop please call  0414 275 959.  

To protect the privacy and confidentiality of workshop participants, the exact time and locations of workshops will not be made public.  This information will be given to attending sex workers prior to the workshop dates.  

Statement From Scarlet Alliance

Scarlet Alliance would like to publicly acknowledge the work of our member group Vixen in organising the inaugural Melbourne Festival of Sex Work in Victoria. 

Sex worker led and organised events are extremely important to ensure sex worker voices are heard and to create spaces to share sex work experiences. This is at a particularly important time for sex workers in Victoria who are experiencing harsh and unworkable legal and policy frameworks impacting on their work and personal lives. 

We wish Vixen every success with the Festival and congratulate all involved for their passion, commitment and contribution to the sex worker rights movement in Australia.

The Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Worker Association is the national peak body of sex worker organisations.  For more information visit