Who We Are

We are an independent non-partisan volunteer group led by sex workers, lobbying for the full decriminalisation of consensual adult sex work in the Australian state of Victoria.

News

29 April 2021: Human Rights Committee Proposes Amending Online Safety Bill to Protect Access to Online Porn

The Federal Government has tabled the Online Safety Bill 2021, which seeks to increase government powers to take down online porn. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has scrutinised the bill and recommended amendments to limit the powers of the eSafety Commissioner to take down online porn. The Committee found the Minister was unable to provide evidence that online depictions of consensual adult porn were harmful to adult Australians. Debate on the Bill will resume after 11 May 2021. 

For more information see our page ‘Federal Government Moves to Expand Its Power to Take Down Online Porn’.

Banks Discriminate against Sex Workers

Find out which banks cut off sex workers:

Financial Institution: Which Banks
Discriminate Page

Is it lawful to discriminate against sex workers? Find out here:

Reporting Financial Discrimination Page

Current Sex Work Laws

While current laws allow a minority of sex workers to operate legally, the majority remain criminalised. 

Why Do the Laws Need to be Changed?

We believe all workers deserve a safe and healthy work environment.

Victoria’s current sex work laws have a negative impact on the health and safety of sex workers. Evidence shows that the full decriminalisation of sex work is the best way to protect their wellbeing.

What We Do

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria advocates for:

We recognise that sex work is work and that criminal laws should not be applied to activities conducted between consenting adults.

Northern Metropolitan Region Fiona Patten Sex Work Review
Fiona Patten being interviewed alongside Lisa from Sex Work Law Reform Victoria

Fiona Patten and Lisa from Sex Work Law Reform Victoria were interviewed on Australia’s only sex work radio show, Behind Closed Doors to provide an update on Victoria’s 2020 sex work Review.

Statement

We oppose the set of sex work laws known as the Nordic Model (Swedish Model) . The Nordic Model  criminalises all clients of all sex workers.

Q: Isn’t sex work already decriminalised in Victoria?

A: No. Victoria has a licensing model of sex work laws, which differ significantly from the decriminalised model of sex work legislation. 

Q: Isn’t sex work already legalised in Victoria?

A: Yes and no. The existing Victorian laws are overly complex and criminalise most sex workers.

Q: What about human trafficking in the sex industry?

A: Sex work and human trafficking are entirely different. We condemn any form of human trafficking. Australia has in place powerful laws that criminalise human trafficking in all industries, including the sex industry. We support the current anti-trafficking lawsRead more on our Human Trafficking page.

Q. Doesn’t decriminalisation encourage more people to take up sex work?

No. Surveys showed that the number of sex workers in New Zealand remained static following the introduction of decriminalisation.

Q: Does decriminalisation allow human trafficking?

A: No. Human trafficking remains a criminal offence.

Q: Doesn’t decriminalising sex work lead to more human trafficking?

A: Not at all. Where sex work is mostly decriminalised, in New South Wales, the Northern Territory¹ and in New Zealand, evidence shows no increase in human trafficking in the sex industry.

Q: Do we support the Nordic Model (Swedish Model) of criminalising sex work clients?

A: No. The Nordic Model (Swedish Model) of sex work is favoured by some anti-sex work activists and applies blanket criminal penalties to all clients of all sex workers. We view sex work as work and support Amnesty International’s view that full decriminalisation of sex work is the best way to prevent violence against sex workers. Sex workers across Australia strongly endorse full decriminalisation and report that it creates safer and healthier working conditions for sex workers.

Q: Are we mainly focused on reforming street sex work laws?

A: No. We advocate removing criminal penalties for all types of consensual adult sex work in Victoria. This includes brothels, massage parlours, escort agencies, private sex work and street sex work.

Men at Work, Gay Sex Worker Australia
Click the image to watch the short film on Facebook

In association with Sex Work Law Reform Victoria, film students at Deakin University present ‘Men at Work’, a six minute documentary about male sex work in Melbourne, Australia. The film tells the story of a young and determined male escort. For more information about this film, see the ‘Men at Work’ FaceBook page.

  1. No evidence from the Northern Territory, which only recently decriminalised sex work, in late 2019. 

© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2021

Last updated: 4 May 2021