Sex work has been decriminalised in Victoria.Source:News Limited
An outdated law that has made sex work “burdensome” and “unworkable” has been overhauled in Victoria, with the state announcing on Friday it will decriminalise the industry.
As part of the decriminalisation, sex workers will now have the same rights as other industries, with new reforms to increase safety, reduce stigma, and improve access to health and police services.
Sex workers have reported working conditions as unsafe, with violence and unsafe sex often part of the gig.
The changes will come into place over the next two years.Source:News Limited
In a joint statement, Australian sex workers associations Scarlett Alliance and Vixen Collective said the move was a positive and urgently overdue change.
Vixen Collective spokesperson Dylan O’Hara said current laws meant sex workers were forced to make choices based on the dangerous and unworkable requirements of the licensing system rather than health and safety.
She said many were forced to choose between working safely and working legally.
“The Victorian government’s recognition that sex work is work and that police are not suitable regulators of the sex industry is significant in its aspiration to afford the benefits of decriminalisation already experienced by NSW and Northern Territory,” they said.
“(It is) a signal to other jurisdictions in Australia that it is time to take an evidence and rights-based approach to sex work to support the safety, self-determination and wellbeing of sex workers and our communities.”
Breaking news: The @VicGovAu has announced it will proceed to decriminalise sex work over two years. Anti-discrimination laws will also be strengthened.https://t.co/2ANsSa9aFg@IngridStitt@MartinFoleyMP@CherylOvers@FionaPattenMLC#springst#sexworkisworkpic.twitter.com/1iH6oFzc6u
— Sex Work Law Reform Victoria (@SWLRV) August 13, 2021
The news received significant support on Twitter, with one activist applauding the changes.
“Got a text from a colleague with the news that sex work is to be fully decriminalised in Victoria, and I admit I burst into tears,” ”PK” posted.
“What a magnificent day, an acknowledgment that sex workers in our state are legitimate, valued, and need protection, not criminalisation.”
Got a text from a colleague with the news that #sexwork is to be fully decriminalised in Victoria, and I admit I burst into tears. What a magnificent day, an acknowledgment that #sexworkers in our state are legitimate, valued, and need protection, not criminalisation.
— PK (@paulkidd) August 13, 2021
The decriminalisation comes two years after the government appointed MP Fiona Patten to lead a targeted review of sex work regulations.
Only sex work between consenting adults will be decriminalised.
Ms Pattern welcomed the announcement on Twitter.
“The government‘s announcement it will implement my recommendation to decriminalise sex work as legitimate employment will protect these workers and reduce the stigma and discrimination they have for so long endured,” she said.
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