Sex Workers Welcome Victorian Government Announcement to Decriminalise Sex Work

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.

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

Press Release: URL