International Sex Workers Day and Calls for Decriminalisation in South Australia


SHINE SA, posted on June 2, 2023

On June 2, International Sex Workers Day is recognised, creating an opportunity for further reflection on the need for decriminalisation of sex work in South Australia.

Sex work is criminalised in South Australia which means that those engaging in relevant sex work activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN (Sex Industry Network) and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation of sex work as a best practice model supported by sex workers and allied community-based organisations. This is also recognised in Australia’s National STI and BBV Strategies[1][2].

The importance of decriminalisation is highlighted in the latest Scarlet Alliance Key Issues Paper[3]:

“We continue to advocate for the full decriminalisation of sex work in every state and territory and the implementation of robust and effective anti-discrimination protections for sex workers
as the foundations upon which sex worker health, safety, and self-determination are built.”

“The current National BBV and STI Strategies acknowledge the importance of decriminalising sex work in the national response to BBVs and STIs. Scarlet Alliance and our members continue
to progress policy agendas that improve sex workers’ access to health services. We protect the gains made in the sex worker BBV and STI response through our active and vibrant health
promotion, peer education and harm reduction programs.”

The decriminalisation of sex work is a public health issue. Decriminalising sex work will ultimately improve the health and safety of sex workers by removing barriers to STI and BBV testing and
treatment, as well as providing pathways to justice.

Learn more about the decriminalisation of sex work:


[1] Fourth National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2018–2022. (2019). Australian Government. 
[2] Eighth National HIV Strategy 2018–2022. (2019). Australian Government.
[3] Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association. (2023, May 10). Key Issues Paper 2023. Retrieved from Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association

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By J Pope

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