2023 Policy Initiative - Sex Work

Sex work is work - protecting sex worker rights. All workers deserve protection, recognition and equal rights in the workplace – sex work should be no different.

Sex workers in NSW are subject to unnecessary additional challenges. They face unique legislative hurdles, barriers to reporting crime and are burdened by social stigma.

The Greens in NSW have a strong track record of standing up for sex workers, in Parliament and in the streets. In 2020, the Greens were the first party in NSW to introduce legislation to provide specific anti-discrimination protection for sex workers. We will continue our proud history of working alongside sex workers, listening and acknowledging their experience and showing them the respect they deserve. We are committed to ensuring that sex work is treated as work like any other under our laws.

THE GREENS WILL: 

  • Defend and extend the decriminalisation of sex work. We will defend the right of sex workers to operate without the requirement for registration and oversight by government agencies, and repeal laws that continue to criminalise certain aspects of sex work.
  • End discrimination against sex workers. We will include sex work as a protected class in the Anti-Discrimination Act, and recognise threats or action to out someone as a sex worker as a form of violence.
  • Promote community outreach and peer education. We will encourage and promote excellent sex worker health through peer education, community outreach, free and voluntary testing and enforcement of occupational health and safety standards.
  • Ensure fair pay and safe working conditions. We will support the right of sex workers to advocate and organise for their workers’ rights.
  • Listen, acknowledge, respect. We will always listen to sex workers and their experiences within the industry to inform the development of best practice policy and legislation.

DEFENDING & EXTENDING DECRIMINALISATION

The Greens will stand firm against the criminalisation of sex work and defend the right of sex workers to operate without the requirement for registration or licensing and oversight by government agencies.

Decriminalisation is the optimum model and framework for the sex industry. A decriminalised industry results in lower rates of HIV and STIs and amplifies opportunities for community outreach, peer education and maximises compliance with occupational health and safety standards. 

In a decriminalised framework all sex work industry businesses are governed just like any other businesses and are subject to existing regulatory mechanisms. Most importantly police are not involved as regulators of the industry thereby reducing overreach and discrimination.

The Greens are committed to extending the world-leading decriminalisation legislated in 1995 by repealing the entirety of ‘Part 3 Prostitution’ of the Summary Offences Act 1988. This will ensure that sex work is fully decriminalised in NSW. 

Other models such as the Swedish Model (where the purchase of sex work is criminalised, but the offering of services is not) do not increase safety and wellbeing of sex workers but rather lead to isolation, lower wellbeing and further social stigma and discrimination around sex work.

The Greens will continue to support the decriminalisation framework and strongly resist any moves to adopt the Swedish model or criminalise sex work here in NSW. We are committed to repealing legislation which continues to criminalise aspects of sex work. 

ENDING DISCRIMINATION 

The Greens have already introduced a bill into the NSW Parliament to amend the Anti- Discrimination Act to include sex work as a protected class – we will continue to push for these and further changes.

Sex workers face discrimination and unfair treatment under the law, including when seeking rental accommodation or a workplace, accessing financial services, or applying for jobs. In recent years, a number of other Australian states and territories have introduced legislation to end discrimination against sex workers. 

In 2020, the Greens introduced a bill to include sex work as a protected class in the Anti- Discrimination Act and have been working productively with other politicians to see these changes legislated as soon as possible. 

Additionally, we are committed to protecting sex workers against threats or actions to out them against their will, by amending the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 to recognise threats to out, disclose or publish a person’s status as a sex worker as a form of domestic and/or personal violence.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH & PEER EDUCATION

The Greens will encourage and promote excellent sex worker health through peer education, community outreach, voluntary testing and enforcement of occupational health and safety standards.

Excellent sex worker health is the result of a combination of community outreach programs and positive peer education. Yet many legislators still advocate for disclosure laws, mandatory testing and the criminalisation of HIV positive sex workers – these have the opposite effect: creating barriers, increasing isolation and decreasing the likelihood that sex workers will reach out and utilise vital health Services.

To promote excellent health standards The Greens will continue to support a best practice approach of voluntary testing for workers, peer education and the rollout of occupational health and safety standards.

FAIR PAY & SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS

The Greens  recognise that sex work is work, and so we support the right of sex workers to advocate and organise for their workers’ rights.

We will continue to advocate for full and anti-discriminatory access to workplace protections and mechanisms currently afforded to other workers, and will continue to work with our Federal colleagues to ensure adequate access to Fair Work and work health and safety for all sex workers.  

LISTEN. ACKNOWLEDGE. RESPECT.

The Greens will always listen to sex workers and their experiences within the industry to inform the development of best practice policy and legislation.

Sex workers are rarely treated as the experts that they are when it comes to their own profession and industry. This leads to decisions being made for, rather than by, them – with policies that endanger and injure sex workers being the ultimate result.

The Greens will ensure that sex workers’ voices are heard and acknowledged when it comes to the development and review of policy and laws related to the sex industry and that they always have a seat at the table. The only way for us to create effective legislation is to listen and learn from those with direct professional experience within the sex industry.

 

FIND ALL OUR POLICIES:  GREENS.ORG.AU/NSW/PLATFORM

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