Decriminalisation Does NOT Mean Complete Deregulation of the Sex Industry

A common concern associated with the decriminalisation of sex work is that  it would result in an unregulated environment where anything is permissible. Some people worry that in an unregulated environment, human trafficking would inevitably increase.

Decriminalisation will NOT result in complete deregulation of the sex industry. This change simply removes criminal penalties associated with activities carried out between consenting adults. In a decriminalised framework existing general laws continue to regulate the sex industry as they do any other.

Specifically, if Victoria decriminalised sex work, the following laws would continue to apply:

  • Anti-human trafficking laws
  • Laws preventing children from being involved in the sex industry
  • Outlaw motorcycle gang laws
  • Organised crime laws
  • Rape and sexual assault laws
  • Illicit drug laws
  • Occupational health and safety laws
  • WorkSafe laws
  • Workers’ compensation laws
  • Federal industrial laws
  • Anti-discrimination laws
  • Migration laws
  • Tax laws
  • Business contract laws
  • Advertising laws
  • Local council planning laws
  • Neighbourhood noise laws
  • Public indecency laws
  • Littering laws


migrant sex workers Australia
decriminalisation benefits all sex workers (Unsplash: Trung Thanh)


© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2020

Last updated: 7 August 2020