Northern Territory Parliament votes to decriminalise sex work

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Source (institute/publication): 
Scarlet Alliance, SWOP NT

Australia's Northern Territory Parliament has voted to decriminalise sex work through the Sex Industry Bill 2019. The Bill decriminalises brothels, soliciting and indoor sex work, and gives sex workers access to workplace health and safety protections already extended to other workers in the state. 

CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim said:

“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. We applaud the NT Government for listening to sex workers and the evidence in fully decriminalising sex work in the NT. Sex work is work and it is fantastic that it is finally being recognised as such. We hope that these critical reforms will demonstrate the importance of best practice partnerships between sex workers and government and lead to similar campaigns for the decriminalisation of sex work in other states and territories throughout Australia.”

Sex Worker Reference Group member Skye Ozanne said:

“This is a significant achievement for sex workers in the NT. It builds on decades of advocacy and activism by sex workers and supporters on this issue. We wish to thank foremost NT sex workers who have campaigned for over 20 years for safety and industrial rights. Importantly we also want to thank family and friends of sex workers who have assisted us to maintain our commitment to the campaign.” 

In a statement, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, said:

“I commend this decision by Australia’s Northern Territory, which upholds the human rights of sex workers and means that they can operate within existing laws and regulations, including laws relating to employment, occupational health and safety, workers’ rights and discrimination... The decriminalization of sex work reduces the risk of HIV transmission for both sex workers and their clients.”