Proposed amendment to Sex Worker Policy

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Moved by Perth branch

Sex work is still on the criminal code in all states and territories except NSW. Having sex work on the criminal code means increased police harassment for marginalised groups such as Aboriginal street-based sex workers, Asian and migrant sex workers, HIV positive workers, and trans people sex workers.  

Criminalising sex work means significantly lower health and safety standards. Decriminalisation in NSW combined with other health and sex worker “peer education” community support measures, has resulted in better sexual health outcomes for sex workers and improved access by community outreach and support agencies.  

Criminalising the clients of sex workers (the "Swedish model") has an equivalent effect to criminalising sex work, regardless of arguments of its supporters that it promotes women's liberation or sex workers' rights. It is impossible for any industry to operate openly when its customers risk arrest. The practical outcome for sex workers — being forced underground, more vulnerable to violence, and harder for health and support services to reach — is the same whether it is sex workers or clients who are criminalised.

The Socialist Alliance stands for:

Decriminalisation of sex work 

Opposition to proposals that criminalise the clients but not sex workers (along the lines of the "Swedish model")

An end to discrimination on the basis of occupation

The Socialist Alliance supports the work of sex worker organisations in their campaigns for decriminalisation, and for health and safety on the job.