Who will make submissions to Fiona Patten’s Sex Work Review? We certainly hope to hear from a diverse range of sex workers, but it’s inevitable that anti-sex worker voices will be heard too. Last year the Northern Territory called for submissions on sex work reforms and a good percentage of the submissions came from Christian or radical feminist groups. These groups tend to favour the Nordic Model, which demonises clients, portraying them as one-dimensional violent misogynists.
So will there be room in the inquiry to hear from clients? After all, there would be no sex industry without them. In certain circumstances, clients, like sex workers, are criminalised by Victoria’s sex work laws, and they, too, are arguably stigmatised. We seldom hear from clients in debates about sex work issues. Their voices are left out. Is it time to start listening to clients and encourage their voices to be heard?