Friday, September 15, 2006

Australian Health Service Gives Disabled Sex Hook-ups

A HEALTH counselling service funded by the South Australian Government is providing details of sex workers to disabled people.

Family First MLC Dennis Hood said yesterday a constituent had provided him with a copy of a list of sex workers.

Entitled "Disability-Friendly Sex Workers", the list was sent to the constituent via a suburban office of the State Government-funded sexual health education organisation, SHine SA.

"There is no mistaking the intention of the list as it includes the headings 'female sex workers' and 'male sex workers' and is followed by a series of names and mobile phone numbers and a brief description of the 'service' they provide," Mr Hood said.

"One reads 'visit you or visit me. Sensual massage, full service, young sensual blonde'."

Mr Hood said he was "shocked" SHine SA "appeared to be referring some clients to prostitutes".

SHine SA chief executive Kaisu Vartto denied the organisation referred people to prostitutes.

It did give information to "professional agencies seeking advice" on "relationship and sexual health issues that are relevant to their clients", she said.

"However, SHine SA does not give information about sex workers to individuals or initiate contact with sex workers or procure sex workers," Ms Vartto said.

"The organisation values the principle of sexual health rights for everyone. Our health and education professionals are absolutely committed to providing a service that is respectful and responsive to real needs."

Mr Hood said investigations by his office showed at least two of the women on the list operated from a brothel in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton and he had asked Police Commissioner Mal Hyde to investigate the matter.

The list also shows the sex workers had attended training conducted by SHine SA and the Sex Industry Network, also a State Government-funded organisation.

SIN promotes sexual health among the state's sex workers and trains some in working ethically with disabled clients.

The organisation declined to comment yesterday.

"This is a gross misuse of taxpayers' money," Mr Hood said, calling on the Government to "freeze" SHine SA's funding.

A spokeswoman for SHine SA confirmed the list had been sent from the suburban office. It was not a Shine SA list but one compiled by SIN. She said the list was not provided across-the-board.

"In this instance, it was provided on one occasion," she said.

"An organisation rang and asked for the list."

The list had been compiled originally to help protect the more vulnerable people in the community who might engage sex workers, she said. A spokesman for Mr Hyde said the police would not comment on any correspondence from Mr Hood.

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