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Scarlet Alliance and SIN Statement 20/08/2021

Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association, and SIN, the South Australian peer sex worker organisation, refute the comments made by SAPOL commissioner, Grant Stevens, in the InDaily article published on the 19th August, 2021.

In the article, as well as in their parliamentary submission to the select committee, the commissioner states that SAPOL does not object to decriminalisation (of the sex industry) per se. However, the suggestions laid out by the commissioner and the legislative recommendations supported by SAPOL call for licensing and registration which are inconsistent with decriminalisation.

SAPOL must understand that decriminalisation does not mean no regulation. Under decriminalisation the sex industry would be subject to exisiting regulatory mechanisms such as safework, industrial, health and local government regulations. Sex workers are already subject to federal taxation laws, and the Organised Crime Control Act – decriminalisation will not change that.

Decriminalisation will remove SAPOL as the gatekeepers of the sex industry, it will not remove the power SAPOL wields to address crimes within the community, including within the sex industry. SA sex workers are tired of the constant fear mongering espoused by SAPOL regarding the sex industry. SAPOL is actively doing harm to SA sex workers by promoting stigmatising misinformation. SAPOLs suggestions regarding a licencing or heavily regulated legislative framework are costly, onerous and unworkable. Other Australian states and territories have already recognised the pitfalls of licencing and are making appropriate changes to decriminalise sex work – SA must follow their lead.

General Manager of SIN, Kat Morrison states, “The fractured relationship between SA sex workers and SAPOL cannot be repaired without the commissioner listening to the voices of sex workers. Again and again, we have shared evidence and facts pertaining to the benefits of decriminalisation. Yet here we are, defending decriminalisation and correcting SAPOL commentary. Enough is enough. SAPOL needs to step back and relinquish the control they have held for so long over the sex industry. SAPOL must stop wasting taxpayer money on policing an industry composed of consenting adults and focus their time and resources elsewhere.”

Licensing and registration is harmful for sex workers and perpetuates stigma and discrimination against sex workers. By contrast, evidence demonstrates that decriminalisation is the best practice model of sex industry regulation, resulting in better workplace health and safety and access to health promotion and justice.

For further information or comment please contact:
SIN general manager Kat Morrison, gm@sin.org.au or 0433559337
the Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim, ceo@scarletalliance.org.au or 0411985135.