15 February 2018

Red Files Committee Meeting Minutes, Cycle #1

Red Files Committee Meeting Minutes, Cycle 1

Last updated: 20/02/2018
Meeting time: 13 February 2018, 21:00 Meeting place: Skype

Attendees: Estelle Lucas, Roman Poltanov, Charlotte Quinn, Sienna Charles
Chair: Estelle Lucas
Minutes: Sienna Charles


  • Estelle to report back on Performance Review and Financial Report for the cycle.
  • Consider motions:
    • Motion to develop a mobile app to screen numbers more conveniently.
    • Motion to extend our performance review, director’s strategy brief, and financial report to every year instead of every six month cycle.
    • Motion to have PIN delivered every two months instead of every month.
    • Motion to either look further into becoming incorporated or setting a clear pathway and plan for Red Files to become incorporated.
    • Motion for Charlotte to move positions from MOD to Director.
    • Motion to talk about financial sustainability in great depth and leave with a timeline and strategy.
    • Motion to reduce MOD wage to $100pw instead of $200pw, with a view to reassess in 12 months.
    • Motion to officially start the cycle #2 after the first committee (and absorb the time between #1 and #2 for an extended cycle) to correct the miscalculation of time and delay in end of cycle reporting.
    • Bring changes to the website to Raj with regard to the inclusion of former sex workers. Estelle to come back with a figure and a timeline. Ask for more statistical info on clicks and views.
  • Go over revisions to the After Care Guidelines.
  • Go over suggestions from Sienna for the website UI.

Performance Review Notes

Surprised by the lack of engagement and support initially. Diversity of outreach is important – international workers, new workers, isolated workers, male workers, and workers who have just encountered a UM are the most engaged; focus on them, as they don’t have much of an existing support network. Escorts and Babes UM database is a good place to find the latter population.

Misconceptions about the site and Estelle’s role is an ongoing challenge. Because we are so new, people are waiting for us to make a mistake or leech off workers. Be consistent and transparent in order to somewhat stop this. There was a steep learning curve regarding this – accountability, transparency and accuracy are the key to legal security and safety and also consumer trust. Red Files was intended to be a practical resource, but Estelle misread the political situation among workers, and the mistrust they naturally have. Politics is unfortunately affecting morale, it can really hurt to be constantly proving yourself. When questioned about the integrity of Red Files, say, “please be specific about how X is problematic” – to ensure there is basis to any claims brought against Red Files operation.

Diverse information and experiences are key to the success of Red Files; ensure we are spread nationwide and not just Melbourne focused.

Correcting misinformation and allaying suspicion are continuing to be issues. When we do the resource content, it needs to meet certain standards, we are liable for the information we provide to vulnerable workers. Preface things that are open to interpretation or are full of community sourced content (like hotel recommendations etc.) with statements explaining such. Collate resources already out there rather than creating content on our own – we are not the experts, but we can source from people who are. Disclaimers about where information is coming from are important.

Having people helping out and making tangible contributions helps with trust, credibility, and diversity. Find ways to encourage more people to contribute resources and reports, this fosters a sense of community. Check out the Docklands Library as a location for potential workshops – events where there is active participation are great for outreach.

Currently we are under resourced and overworked – look at the skills, talents, and connections of potential members. Adding former workers in a capacity to see everything but the UM section to use them as a resource. Legal counsel required on having MODS who are not current workers – inevitably people come and go from this industry and probably MODS will too.

NEW MOTION (xi): Bring changes to the website to IT with regard to the inclusion of former sex workers – access to everything except the UM section. Estelle to come back with a figure and a timeline. Ask for more statistical info on clicks and views. Numbers for genders, how many clicks to mod ad, number of views for sponsorship are all that’s currently available. Chatroom/timeline for members to comment about places etc. – for boosting real time interaction with the website.

Sustainability and Finances

Scarlett Alliance ($2k), and the MOD wage are the biggest expenditure.

The transparency from day one is really important for demonstrating credibility.

Go to IT for a pop up displaying the financial report and performance review.

Starting a GoFundMe was a big, big NO. Applying for NGO status and govt funding is the best way forward (Charlotte’s responsibility), but also looking further into sponsorship (Estelle’s responsibility).


Motion i

Jump through the legal hoops for Apple/Android, it’s expensive. We need money, research, and someone leading the initiative, but this is something for the future. Specific funding can be applied for. Consultation with sex workers about design and functionality. Ads to pay for the app an option for financial sustainability. Subscription fee not really feasible due to the political landscape and the responsibility we hold towards vulnerable workers, also against our ethos in general. Enquiries of fees etc. – how long it will take, process, what are the barriers for the app stores, what are the costs for startup and ongoing?

Making sure that we have a good foundation so we can add onto the app in the future, for more functionality later on, which might be a larger initial expense.

Roman could put together a brief that provides evidence of why it’s needed.

Steps towards it this cycle. Having a plan to get it moving.

All in favour, motion passed

Motion ii

Financial report maybe available every six months, but not the performance review. Perhaps a smaller update at the six month mark instead of a full analytical review. Director’s Strategy Brief – done for a year’s view, looking at how to improve each score etc.

All in favour, motion passed

Motion iii

Balancing act between security and convenience. No overly strong opinions. We would need to have a particularly good reason to change it.

Motion denied

Motion iv

Becoming incorporated comes before non-for-profit – you need to be a public company in order to be an NFP. Must have three directors and a secretary. The directors take risks and responsibilities and it’s a difficult position to fill.

All in favour, motion passed

Motion v

Motion passed

Motions vi and vii

Non-for-profit is essential – that’s when we can start applying for funding. Opens the door for future projects. Helps with image and reputation. Reduction of MOD wage essential to sustainability, but also having it at all is essential to credibility. Percentage of the donations instead of a set amount? $100 for the next six months, review in six months at the next committee meeting. Funding needs to exist before we consider specialist funding. Priority #1 is becoming incorporated in order to achieve this. We should all be thinking of kinds of funding RF can apply for, bookmarking dates for deadlines for funding applications. Federal and state based, whatever we are eligible for. Sponsorship options.

All in favour, motion passed

Motion viii

Start the cycle in Feb because Estelle can’t math. When should this cycle end? July, so it’s 6mo time, or June, to be in line with the financial year calendar?

Motion passed, Charlotte to let us know

Motion ix

Approach IT with the following:

  • Pop up on the website: “if you have gotten any benefit out of RF in the last year, please consider donating. If every member donated X, we could run for Y. If you’re able, could you donate $Z right now?” Also displays links to the performance review and the financial report.
  • Establish a chat/timeline for more community engagement, also real time updates of current events for workers – eg. “Hotel on Brunswick has intercom access” or “Steer clear of Dr. Smith, she doesn’t like SWs” or “Anyone seen this guy? 0412 345 678”
  • A way of gathering more demographics and click habit statistics for the website
  • A mechanic to allow former sex workers to engage with the website, and have access to everything except the UM reports.

Website improvement suggestions

  • Ability to search by name given. Currently you can absolutely do that, but it's hidden under "advanced search". Since a name is the primary identifier for a person in most of the world, it makes sense to have it at the top as well. Also, remove the requirement to have one of the primary fields populated.
  • A separate tab for your reports instead of having to scroll down to the bottom of your profile to find them.
  • A more collated way of viewing reports on someone. If you add a report, it shows as a separate file. I think it might be better to simply give people the ability to add extra information to a report instead of having it in a separate file entirely. [denied]
  • A listing of files by city/total/etc. The little tiles are great for small amounts of reports, but a list is needed for larger amounts in order to make scanning for what you are looking for much easier.
  • I'm not sure if this is a thing already, but something that automatically takes the "+61" off numbers and adds a zero instead for both files and searches. Saves girls who are searching. Eg. If someone puts in “0412345678” it automatically also searches for “0412 345 678” and “+61 412 345 678” and “+61412345678”. International numbers will just be with or without the +
  • A tab for info sheets and resources! They're so hard to find! Less on guidelines, more helpful resources for people who go looking. I think the "terms", "privacy", and "guidelines" tabs need to be in a sub menu under "about" or a "resources" tab.
  • Suggest a list of hotels for each city that have no elevator keycard access, or they have an intercom or whatever. Also a list of sex worker friendly doctors/psychs etc. [templates begun by Charlotte]
  • Visually, it would be better if the top bar was a little narrower. At the moment it takes up a lot of the screen and makes scrolling more frequent/makes things harder to read.

(Estelle to send website improvement suggestions to IT)

After Care Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid Certification is something to look into for ourselves. It does not transfer liability onto us, nor does it convey expertise – it is just so we can be equipped to deal with the first line of response before traumatised people are passed along to experts. https://mhfa.com.au/


After Charlotte did some investigation into evolving our corperate structure, we were made aware that we couldn't make any movements without three Directors. Estelle then presented an emergency motion: 'I'd like to set a motion to move Roman into the Director role. I also will have him sign a contract that limits his authority/power as Director until he's fully trained up as a Director and ensure he isn't recieving any sort of MOD wage (as he will need to do a trial period as MOD to be able to become Director).

This motion was passsed unanimously.