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WIRE congratulates the Vixen Collective spokesperson Dylan O’Hara, Founder and Leader of the Reason Party Fiona Patten and the many sex workers who have bravely and tirelessly advocated for decriminalisation for years.
In Victoria, sex work is currently regulated under a legalised model, which means sex work is only legal if it takes place under certain conditions set out in the Sex Work Act 1994. Victoria’s current sex work laws are discriminatory, dangerous and causing immense harm to our sex worker community on a daily basis. Licensing and criminalisation in Victoria forces sex workers to make decisions based on the harmful and stigmatising requirements of the licensing system, rather than their health and safety. The current laws bring sex workers into oppositional contact with police, and produce immense barriers to justice, health and other key services. They force sex workers to choose between navigating an impossible system, or working outside the law.
Decriminalisation can ensure that sex work is safe work and just like any other work. It will also maximise sex workers’ safety, health, and human rights, while also reducing stigma and fear of criminal repercussions. The Victorian Government is seeking to decriminalise sex work to ensure that every worker in the industry has the same rights and access to the entitlements and protections under law, as they would in any other job.
The Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 is currently before the Victorian Parliament. It’s crucial that the government arrive to this commitment and ensure there are no delays to these necessary reforms. Sex workers in Victoria have been waiting for decriminalisation for decades. They cannot afford to wait any longer.
For more information on how you can help make decriminalisation a reality, read the latest updates by Vixen Collective—Victoria’s peer-only sex worker organisation. Visit www.vixencollective.org/decrim-updates