Sex Work Is About To Be Legalised In Victoria
These Reforms Should Have Happened A Very Long Time Ago.
It’s being described as “world-leading”, but many believe these reforms should have happened a very long time ago.
We’re talking about sex work being decriminalised in Victoria, which will soon join a growing number of states who have headed in this direction.
It marks the end of a failed 30-year system.
Up until now, and under existing laws, street-based sex work is a crime in Victoria.
This makes little sense to many, considering that selling sexual services at registered brothels and escort agencies is fine. Also, selling sexual services as a private sex worker is ok by the law too.
Sex workers themselves have been calling for these legal reforms for years.
They have been (correctly in our opinion), attempting to underline that it leaves vulnerable sex workers liable to prosecution.
Scarlet Alliance, the peak body for sex workers in Australia has said, “When you criminalise our clients, you criminalise us.”
Last week, Daniel Andrews’ government announced that it would commence a two-year overhaul of all legislation.
Firstly, criminal penalties for consensual sex work will be scrapped.
Down the track, the plan is to pass new legislation by the end of the year.
Additional work will see anti-discrimination laws updated, and work with local governments to enable change.
The proposal will require the support of at least three crossbench MPs in the Upper House.
To many, the tough laws around consensual sex work have not made sense, and have been repeatedly criticised.
Obviously, we’re not talking about non-consensual sex.
Neither are we talking about removing protections for children or coercion.
In our opinion, consensual sex work should not have a stigma to it, and these reforms are welcomed both by the industry and workers themselves.
MAKING LIFE EASIER
A spokesman for Sex Work Law Reform Victoria said, “We want to make sure street-based sex work is decriminalised and the requirement for individual sex workers to register with the government is removed.”
A spokeswoman for Victorian Sex Worker’s support group Vixen Collective said, “Current laws on sex work in Victoria are the major barrier to sex workers reaching out to police for assistance. There will not be real improvements until sex workers are treated like other Victorian workers under the law. This can only happen when sex work is fully decriminalised. Sex work is real work.”
Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne said, “A lot of the industry is operating outside the existing regulatory measures. What we need to make sure is that sex work is safe work and that people have the same rights and protections as any single other worker in Victoria. There is a position of stigma, and people who are working in this industry don’t necessarily feel they have the same protections as other workers to be able to come forward to report any sort of issues that may occur.”
THE RULES AROUND THE GLOBE
- Sex work was decriminalised in NSW in 1995. It’s also been decriminalised in New Zealand, and the Northern Territory.
- In Denmark, buying and selling sex isn’t criminalised; it is illegal for other people to profit off sex work as a third party. Basically, this is to stop pimping.
- In France, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, selling sex is legal but paying for it is not.