SEX worker, activist, loving girlfriend and school dux; a unique documentary about the life of Newtown sex worker Rachel Wotton is sure to debunk a few stigmas.
Due to be screened on SBS later this year, the film documents the work of Touching Base, an organisation based in Sydney’s inner west which connects sex workers with people with a disability.
Ms Wotton, a sex worker of 17 years, speaks with candour about her work during the film, which is a finalist at this year’s Sydney Film Festival for the Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize. Independent director Catherine Scott, who met Ms Wotton a decade ago through mutual friends, shot the documentary over three years.
The film captures poignant footage of Ms Wotton and client Mark Manitta, who lives with cerebral palsy and whose 46th birthday wish was to have a woman stay overnight.
‘‘People with disabilities deal with touch all the time, being washed and dressed and bathed,’’ she said.
‘‘But they crave a different type of touch; they crave tenderness and I believe that people with disabilities have a right to express themselves sexually just the same as anyone else in society,’’ Ms Wotton said.
The Newtown resident, who has a background in psychology and a masters degree in sexual health, is a co-founder of Touching Base and said its set-up in 2000 was only made possible by decriminalisation in NSW.
Ms Wotton said she wouldn’t have consented to filming the documentary if she lived within the Marrickville local government area of Newtown, which restricts sex workers from operating from home without a development application.
‘‘The City of Sydney council has an inclusive sex industry policy which allows me to work safely and discreetly from home.’’
Ms Wotton said she was not affected by mainstream moral derision to her cause. ‘‘People have sex all the time . . . it happens every day behind closed doors.’’