Today, on the 22nd November 2022, sex workers in the Northern Territory and throughout Australia celebrate the passing of the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2022 in NT Parliament. This places NT as the first place in the world to provide explicit anti-discrimination protections for ‘sex work’ and ‘sex worker’, and includes our families and associates and current and past sex workers. Explicitly naming these attributes recognises the unique stigma that we experience as sex workers, and that we and our work are often treated differently than other types of work, even when our work is decriminalised.
By protecting sex workers and our work within the NT Anti-Discrimination Act 2022, the Labor government has ensured realisation of the Objects of the Sex Industry Act 2019 in recognising sex work as a legitimate form of work that needs to be regulated through standard business, Work Health & Safety, and other industrial protections to safeguard sex worker’s safety and rights. Scarlet Alliance Australian Sex Workers Association, the Sex Worker Outreach Program (SWOP NT) and the Sex Worker Reference Group (SWRG) provided comprehensive evidence and case studies that
demonstrated systemic discrimination against sex workers and our work, throughout the Northern Territory Government’s extensive consultation processes.
“We would like to thank the NT Labor Government, and in particular, through the duration of our advocacy to the Ministers who have held the position of the Attorney General; Chief Minister
Honourable Natasha Fyles, Honourable Selina Uibo, and to the current Attorney General Honourable Chansey Paech for listening to us and hearing our issues and concerns throughout the process of achieving protections for sex workers who work in the NT,” says SWOP NT Coordinator, Leanne Melling.
CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim states, “This is a momentous day for all sex workers and sets a positive example that sex workers are valued members of the community, deserving of rights and protections against vilification and discrimination and mechanisms for redress. These critical reforms will continue to demonstrate the importance of best practice partnerships between sex workers and government and will hopefully inspire similar campaigns for robust anti discrimination protections for sex workers and our work and for the full decriminalisation of sex work in other states and territories throughout Australia.”