The 5th International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers is being marked in Australia with sex workers speaking out against contemporary brothel closure laws, introduced in NSW in July, and currently being discussed in Victoria.
On the basis of a single complaint, local councils in New South Wales are able to seek extreme closure orders, including withholding utilities such as power and water. Sex workers occupational health and safety, including right to a safe workplace, have taken a back seat as local councils flex their new found powers over sections of the sex industry.
“The closure laws reward discriminatory local council planning policies, collude with larger establishments in anti-competition behaviour, and punish smaller sex industry premises that are currently not creating amenity impact,” Janelle Fawkes, Scarlet Alliance Chief Executive Officer said today, “The New South Wales closure laws are simply opening more pathways for corruption, and are a revived form of sanctioned violence against sex workers.”
“The Victorian Government should take heed – New South Wales closure laws have already created more problems than they’ve solved. The unintended consequences include increased uncertainty in the industry, which makes compliance with the law even more unlikely,” Ms Fawkes concluded today.