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Salvos withdraw ad to appease sex workers -

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PETER CAVE: The Salvation Army will pull an ad for its Red Shield appeal after complaints from the
association representing sex workers.

The Scarlet Alliance says the ad in newspapers and magazines stigmatise prostitution, and so they
say that it capitalises on the community's prejudice.

The Salvation Army has apologised, saying it wants to maintain its close working relationship with
the Scarlet Alliance.

Meredith Griffiths reports.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Today the Salvation Army is launching its major fundraising project - the
annual Doorknock Appeal.

In the lead up it's taken out ads in newspapers and magazines and some detail how some of its
workers helped a teenage prostitute.

The ad has drawn the ire of the Scarlet Alliance which represents sex workers.

Its president is Elena Jeffreys:

ELENA JEFFREYS: The Salvation Army advertisement capitalises on stigma and discrimination against
sex workers in their promotion of the Red Shield Appeal. It's a blatant use of general community's
unease and misunderstanding of the sex industry and further stigmatises sex workers.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: When members of the Scarlet Alliance showed up at the Appeal's launch today,
the Salvation Army issued a public apology.

Major Phillip Maxwell says the charity is sorry for any offence caused.

PHILLIP MAXWELL: They took affront to the fact that the word smuggling was aligned to prostitution
which kind of made it, gave the impression for their members that prostitution was a seedy segment
within the community and yes they were offended by that.

The truth of the matter was here was a young man who finds himself trapped in a particular
lifestyle for a number of reasons and unable to move out of that lifestyle and he approached the
Salvation Army, dare I say it, even covertly to see what the Salvation Army could do to help him
out of this particular lifestyle.

And we were able to respond through a process of counselling and support, relocation, help, his
life was considerably changed and he's still travelling well today.

ELENA JEFFREYS: The situation they've described in the ad is such a rare and unusual and dramatic
situation, it misrepresents what most sex workers are seeking in today's society and that is we are
seeking freedom from discrimination and stigma - the kind of discrimination that's shown in the ad.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Do you agree there are some sex workers in Australia who are not choosing to do
that job, they are exploited and they are forced into it?

ELENA JEFFREYS: Look the Salvation Army is not in business of moralising or deciding what sex
workers choices are. Leave that up to sex worker rights advocates, that is our job, we engage with
government on those legislative issues. Salvation Army is not engaged in sex worker rights in
Australia and this ad is a misrepresentation of their cause.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Don't you think there would be some people in Australia though who wouldn't
want to be sex workers and would appreciate someone coming along to intervene and help them?

ELENA JEFFREYS: In New South Wales sex work is fully decriminalised, that means we are protected by
all the other same laws and regulations that affect any other industry. However we're not protected
by anti-discrimination law. If we were, things like this ad would end up in the Anti-Discrimination
Commission.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The Salvation Army ad was set to run until the end of June but will now be
pulled.

The charity gets most of its advertising for free and Major Phillip Maxwell says in this case it
was more important to salvage its relationship with the Sex Workers Association.

PHILIP MAXWELL: The reality is that we work with these people on a day-to-day basis without any
discrimination whatsoever and we recognise that it has caused an affront to them and with our
priority on the ongoing work and our needs to service people we felt that it was appropriate just
to pull the ad.

The Red Shield Appeal still happens, people are aware of our work, but we've got to make sure that
we maintain that onward momentum of servicing the people at the front line who are really in need.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: The Scarlet Alliance says the case should serve as a reminder to other
charities not to exploit the stigma against sex work in their appeals for fundraising.

PETER CAVE: And that report was from Meredith Griffiths.