- You can read the open letter here: https://resources.mariestopes.org.au/OpenLetter.pdf
- And you can endorse it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/openletter
Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, July 2020
Priority groups at risk of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections are still likely to experience negative behaviour from the general public and in healthcare settings according to a recent report from the Stigma Indicators Monitoring Project.
86% of the general public sampled self-reported that they would behave negatively towards people who inject drugs to some extent, as did 56% of healthcare workers and 55% of healthcare students. Additionally, 64% of the general public, and 36% and 31% of healthcare workers and students respectively, self-reported likely negative behaviour (to some extent) towards sex workers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Re: Introduction of Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offenses) Bill 2020
Today, Tammy Franks, MLC, will be speaking to a new bill that seeks to remove sex work from the SA criminal code. South Australia retains some of the most punitive and archaic sex industry laws in the country. This will be the fourteenth attempt at sex industry law reform in the state with a bill to decriminalise the industry being defeated by a narrow margin in the House of Assembly in November of 2019.
South Australia’s only completely peer based sex worker support organization, SIN, applauds attempts to decriminalise the industry. “Decriminalisation has been evidenced as the best legal framework for ALL sex workers in regard to health and safety”, says Kat Morrison, SIN General Manager. “Sex Industry law reform is long overdue is South Australia. What was once a progressive state that lead the way in inclusive and contemporary law reform now lags embarrassingly behind the times”.
Consensual commercial sexual services, as well as many activities and issues surrounding these transactions, are criminalised within the Summary Offenses Act, 1953 and the Criminal Consolidation Act, 1935. This bill seeks to repeal the inclusion of sex work in these Acts.
SHINE SA, Posted on
International Sex Workers Day on June 2 provides an opportunity for us to support the rights of sex workers in South Australia and advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work.
Sex work is criminalised in South Australia which means that those engaging in relevant sex work activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN, SIDAC (Sex Industry Decriminalisation Action Committee) and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and supportive community-based organisations.
The decriminalisation of sex work would improve the safety, sexual health, emotional wellbeing and financial security of sex workers. Whilst sex workers may be more vulnerable to assault and exploitation, research shows this vulnerability is impacted by the policing, stigma and lack of labor rights which current sex work laws encourage.
In a recent statement SIDAC said:
“Sex work will always exist, but is up to us to determine and guarantee, the conditions and safety of those involved. South Australia must decriminalise the industry in the best interests of both sex workers and the broader community.”
On this International Sex Workers Day we continue to support the decriminalisation of sex work in South Australia and its potential for positive impacts on the human rights of sex workers and the health of sex workers and the general public.
Scarlet Alliance, 2020
STATEMENT OF IMPACT
Sex workers throughout Australia have been devastatingly hit by the impact of coronavirus. As a workforce, sex workers are predominantly a mixture of precarious workers and the self-employed, being independent contractors who work in or for sex industry businesses, or sole traders who work independently for themselves. As such sex workers are particularly marginalised in terms of the impact of the coronavirus and many will still be excluded from the stimulus packages announced by the government.
While we welcome the announcement that from 27 April 2020 sole traders are included in the government’s Economic Response to the coronavirus, many sex workers will still be left without financial support.
Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network and Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has created a lot of stress and panic, but sex workers are and always have been resourceful and resilient. We are experts in keeping ourselves and our communities safe. We’ve been doing it for decades! We would like to share our wisdom and learn from each other on how to overcome this current challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many sex workers in a particularly difficult situation. While social distancing is strongly advised, it is particularly challenging for contact sex workers (full service workers, strippers, massage workers, professional dominants, etc), queer and trans sex workers, Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) workers at the margins, and otherwise low-income workers to adhere to these
recommendations. We recognize that many sex workers will need to go about their
business as usual. That is the reality of surviving in a capitalist society while enduring
criminalization and stigmatization.
This document follows a harm reduction approach, offering guidelines from various sources to help lower the risk of contact and transmission to those who must continue in-person sex working.
Knowing that each sex worker’s work is unique, we encourage each of our community members to know how transmission occurs, how that fits with your individual work, and what decisions can be made for your specific situation to reduce as many risks as possible for yourself and others.
We have also included guidelines for clients, third parties, allies, and healthcare providers on how to best support sex workers during this time.