BY FELICITY GERRY, SUZAN GENCAY
AND SIMONE CURMI-BLACKWELL
The Victorian government has just received a landmark review into the state’s sex work laws, which has not yet been made public.
We made a submission with a focus on the decriminalisation of sex work, including raising awareness of Australia’s commitment to non-punishment of trafficked persons. In Victoria, sex work is regulated under a legalised model, which means that sex work is only legal if it takes place within the licensing and registration framework.
Under that framework, an adult may legally engage in sex work provided they are licensed and unless they are engaging in street sex work.
The decriminalisation of sex work is typically understood to mean the removal of criminal laws relating to consensual adult sex work and the regulation of sex work through standard business laws. Our submission sought to assist in distinguishing between sex work and sex trafficking. From the research conducted for that submission, we concluded that criminalisation creates discrimination and fear of being “outed” if a person reports issues, particularly in civil, family, immigration or criminal complaints.
Decriminalisation can contribute to all sex workers feeling safe in contacting law enforcement to report crimes, instances of abuse and human trafficking. The research also showed that decriminalisation of sex work leads to better health outcomes as sex workers maintain good health practices with a low level of STI/HIV infection.
Decriminalisation also leads to improved workplace safety regulations, social equity and reduced discrimination. This article summarises the key findings and recommendations contained in our submission and expands on the background and reasons for our current legislation…
Read the full article on the VicBar website.