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SIN and Scarlet Alliance Joint Media Release

Sex workers devastated as South Australian Lower House vote against industrial, health and human rights for sex workers. Sex workers in South Australia and throughout Australia are heartbroken after the Members of the House of Assembly turned their backs on the rights and safety of sex workers in SA, despite widespread community support for decriminalisation of sex work. The long awaited and widely acclaimed SA Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill 2018 was narrowly defeated in the 2nd reading of the Lower House by just 5 votes. Nineteen members voted to pass the Bill and twenty four votes against.

SIN General Manager, Kat Morrison states, “South Australian sex workers are devastated. We are now faced with the consequences of having to continue to live and work in a criminalised environment and having to prioritise police evasion over our health and safety”.

The Bill was vocally opposed and lobbied against by South Australian Police (SAPOL). In an extraordinary break from protocol, SAPOL actively campaigned against the Bill and for greater police powers. Many sex workers in South Australia cited the police as one of their greatest barriers to work health and safety and access to services and justice under the current criminalised framework.

“In NSW, it was evidence of widespread police misconduct and corruption that led to the decriminalisation of sex work. There is clear evidence that police are inappropriate regulators of the sex industry. With police actively campaigning to maintain their control over the sex industry in South Australia, is a Royal Commission going to be the only way to remove undue police control over our lives and work?” asks Jules Kim, CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association.

The Bill had widespread support from sex workers, community organisations, women’s groups, the health and disability sector and the general public. Evidence based research from Australia, New Zealand and abroad affirms that decriminalisation of sex work as contained in the SA Bill is the best model of regulation for the sex industry.

President of SIN and long time campaigner for decriminalisation in SA, Ari Reid states, “Every year we get more and more support for decriminalisation of sex work. When are politicians going to stop wasting time and resources and start listening to their constituents? Sex workers in SA are not going anywhere and we will continue to campaign for our human rights and our right to feel safe at work.”

“SIN would like to acknowledge the hard work, dedication and passion of our supporters, including the Hon Tammy Franks MLC and the Attorney General, Hon. Vickie Chapman MLA. Over the years there have been many amazing sex workers and allies who have worked tirelessly towards removing the outdated, oppressive laws that sex workers in SA are forced to endure. We retain the passion, dedication and commitment of our predecessors as we continue the fight for decriminalisation in South Australia.” says Kat Morrison.

The SA campaign for decriminalisation has been an inspiration around Australia and internationally and has instigated many sex worker led campaigns for the decriminalisation of sex work for our health, safety and rights. The impact of the hard work and advocacy in SA will continue to motivate and drive sex workers to push for best practice legislative reforms.

For comment:
Kat Morrison, General Manager, SIN: 0433 559 337
Ari Reid, President, SIN: 0432 672 782
Jules Kim, CEO, Scarlet Alliance: 0411 985 135