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Sex workers applaud Andrews Government's decriminalisation announcement

Vixen Collective and Scarlet Alliance welcome the announcement by the Andrews government committing to decriminalise sex work in Victoria.

The repeal of the Sex Work Act 1994 is a positive and urgently overdue change. The licensing framework it establishes for sex work legislation has long been burdensome and unworkable for Victorian sex workers, criminalising many of our essential safety strategies and workplace health and safety measures, unnecessarily restricting our autonomy over our work and workplaces, and forcing us 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 New South Wales and Northern Territory, and 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.

Vixen Collective spokesperson Dylan O’Hara states, “Under the current laws, sex workers are forced to make choices based on the dangerous and unworkable requirements of the licensing system, rather than our health and safety. The full decriminalisation of all forms of sex work in Victoria is essential to recognising sex work as work and supporting sex workers, and is a crucial first step towards rectifying many years of harm and discrimination against Victorian sex workers.”

Vixen Collective and Scarlet Alliance will continue to advocate strongly for the benefits of the full decriminalisation of sex work to be available to all Victorian sex workers, enabling autonomy over where and how we work.

Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim states, “Too often we have seen the needs of the most marginalised sex workers sidelined in processes to decriminalise sex work. All sex workers must be empowered with the same choices and enabled to work in the ways that best support our health and safety. We hope that the government will stick to their commitment to fully decriminalise sex work for all of us. The evidence and support for decriminalisation is unequivocal and it is great that the Victorian Government has heard the voices of sex workers in moving forward these much needed reforms.”

The experiences of sex workers must be centred in the process to implement decriminalisation in Victoria. Understanding the evidence and rationale supporting the full decriminalisation of sex work is key for stakeholders in politics, civil society, health and the public. Sex workers and allies are encouraged to input to the current public consultation, which closes at 5pm on 27 August.

For media enquiries please contact:

Jules Kim - CEO Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association 0411 985 135

Dylan O’Hara - Spokesperson Vixen Collective, Victoria’s Peer Sex Worker Organisation 0412 368 669

13/08/2021