A sex worker opens up in this revealing documentary, which aims to quash myths and prejudices related to the industry.
In Scarlet Road Rachel Wotton, a funny, educated, successful woman, defies every stereotype about who sex workers are. Studying for her Masters degree, in a loving relationship and very much choosing her profession, Rachel is an articulate advocate for the rights of sex workers. However, she campaigns most strongly for Touching Base, an organisation she works with that educates both the public and other sex workers about serving patients with disability.
Rachel operates unhindered in New South Wales, which has a decriminalised sex industry. As a consequence, she participates honestly and openly in the documentary, as do two of her clients: Mark, a cerebral palsy sufferer and John, a client with multiple sclerosis. Mark and John give voice to an often forgotten section of the community and express that they are complete human beings with the same needs and desires as anyone else. Rachel’s work for Touching Base involves training in the practical aspects of the job such as techniques for working with clients with limited mobility, but also the therapeutic benefit of physical touch and affection for her clients.
Rachel is a convincing spokeswoman for her industry. Educated, motivated and compassionate, she argues that the prejudices that exist about sex work are often inaccurate. Similarly, she argues that the understanding of the needs of the disabled remain stereotypical. The most touching moments in the documentary come from the parents of disabled children who are trying desperately to give their children a full, meaningful life. Award-winning director Catherine Scott has created a documentary free from sensationalism about an industry mired in stereotypes and misconceptions, and presents a genuinely surprising and thoughtful piece about two communities that remain hidden.
Scarlet Road airs on SBS ONE on Friday, December 2, at 10:05pm.