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

27 November 2022: Press Release

The pro-sex work Labor Party claims victory following the Victorian state election. Labor had a solid win and will form a majority government. The pro-sex work Greens Party also did well.

For a breakdown of the election results, see our page:

Victorian Election Result – What it Means for Sex Workers

Read more sex industry related news on our 2022 News page

Hooray! Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill Passes in Victoria

Press Release: 10 February, 2022

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria celebrates this passing of the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic) by the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament. This historical move makes the Australian state of Victoria only the fourth jurisdiction in the world to decriminalise sex work. The decriminalisation of sex work provides sex workers with access to the same workplace health and safety protections as other Victorians.

This is a momentous achievement for Victorian sex workers and their supporters, who have have been engaged in advocacy and activism to bring about these legal reforms since the 1970s. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria thanks Victorian sex workers for their ongoing commitment to achieving decriminalisation.

The Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 decriminalises sex work, repealing over the next two years criminal laws associated with consensual adult sex work. This is an important first step in acknowledging sex work as work, allowing for progressive changes to health, planning and other laws to align the regulation of sex work with similar service based businesses. Sex workers will be closely monitoring the progress of these future reforms. Crucially, and uniquely, the bill strengthens anti-discrimination protections available to sex workers.

“In particular, we would like to thank the leader of the Reason Party, Fiona Patten, who has campaigned tirelessly for sex workers’ rights in Victoria and previously in the Australian Capital Territory. We also thank Liberal Democrats MP’s David Limbrick and Tim Quilty for listening to us and hearing our issues and concerns throughout the process of decriminalising sex work,” says Sex Work Law Reform Victoria president, Lisa Dallimore. “Special thanks go to veteran sex workers’ rights advocate Cheryl Overs, who spearheaded Sex Workers’ Voices Victoria’s extensive consultation and subsequent detailed submission to Fiona Patten’s 2020 Sex Work Review.”

This is a huge win for Victorian sex workers, adding momentum to similar campaigns for the decriminalisation of sex work across Australia and the world. The passage of this bill demonstrates Victoria’s commitment to valuing sex workers as equally deserving of rights and protections as other members of the community.

We applaud the Victorian Government for listening to sex workers and taking this bold step. Sex work is work and it is encouraging to see the law finally reflect this.

For Comment: 

Matthew Roberts

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria Inc.

Mobile: 0420644330

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria is a not-for-profit sex workers’ rights organisation led by Victorian sex workers. Founded in 2018, the organisation advocates to all levels of government regarding the legal rights of sex workers in Victoria. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria has put sex workers’ rights on the political agenda in Victoria, Australia, paving the way for the passage of this bill.

Press Release: PDF

https://sexworklawreformvictoria.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Hooray-Sex-Work-Decriminalisation-Bill-Passes-in-Victoria.pdf

Press Release URL

https://sexworklawreformvictoria.org.au/hooray-sex-work-decriminalisation-bill-passes-in-victoria-2/

Watch Fiona Patten, Second Reading Speech on the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021

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.

Big 4 Banks Discrimination

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 2022

Last updated: 27 November 2022