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SCARLET ALLIANCE and VIXEN COLLECTIVE: Sex workers slam Victorian Liberal Party support of harmful laws against sex workers

Yesterday the Victorian Liberal Party passed a motion to support the harmful Nordic Model of sex work regulation. The Nordic Model criminalises clients and the support structures of sex workers as well as isolating and harming sex workers.

There is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates that the Nordic Model does not reduce trafficking or sex work, but it does increase sex workers’ risk of violence and is detrimental to our health, safety and human rights. The Nordic Model creates barriers to HIV and STI prevention and will undo Australia’s incredibly successful public health response to HIV and STI’s among sex workers.

“This is an extremely dangerous step in the wrong direction. Regardless of their intention, laws that criminalise clients of sex workers and laws against the support structures and ability of sex workers to organise, harm us. They hinder our ability to report crime to the police and have made sex workers more vulnerable to violence.” states Jules Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association.

Jane Green, spokesperson for Vixen Collective, Victoria’s peer only sex worker organisation expresses her deep concern for the impact on sex workers in Victoria if the Nordic Model was introduced. “This will be an absolute disaster for sex workers in Victoria. We know from evidence-based research in countries that have adopted this model that the Nordic Model has deteriorated sex workers’ labour and human rights.”

Despite claims made of the success of the Nordic Model, reviews conducted in France, Canada, Sweden and Northern Ireland have demonstrated the negative impacts on sex workers and the failure against the stated aims of the legislation. A report from Sweden found ‘serious adverse effects’ of the legislation despite the fact that the lawmakers stressed that it would not have a detrimental effect on sex workers.

Victorian sex worker – Lucy: “I’m going to keep sex working, but under the Nordic Model I’ll just have to do it in a way that endangers me to avoid detection.”

A large-scale survey of sex workers in France published by Medicins du Monde reports increased health risks, increased exposure to violence, discrimination and impoverishment since the introduction of the Nordic Model. The majority of respondents reported a deterioration in their living conditions, and in their relations with police.

Victorian sex worker – Mary: “If the Nordic Model is introduced in Victoria, I will be forced to work under extremely dangerous conditions. I'm fearful for my financial security and personal safety.”

Peer-based sex worker organisations around the world, including Scarlet Alliance and Vixen Collective, are advocating against the Nordic Model. A growing number of international health and human rights agencies and experts including Amnesty International, World Health Organisation, United Nations, Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, Human Rights Watch and Global Network of Sex Worker Projects, have all concluded that criminalising sex work and related activities threaten sex workers health, safety and rights.

We urge the Liberal Party to reconsider their position and withdraw support for the Nordic Model.

For further media information/interviews, please contact:

Jane Green, Vixen Collective, Spokesperson Mobile: 0420 887 845 Email: vixencollectivemelbourne@gmail.com

Jules Kim, Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, CEO Mobile: 0411 985 135 Email: ceo@scarletalliance.org.au