24 July 2020: Social Distancing and Sex Work

Restrictions sex work

How to have a sex work booking AND practise social distancing at the same time! Only in Victoria …

We know Victoria’s sex work laws are often weird, to put it mildly. They get weirder when it comes to what is defined as sex work. Picture this scenario – a client and a sex worker are in a room together. He’s fully dressed. They’re standing (or sitting) 1.5 metres apart from each other, as per the Covid Restrictions on social distancing. They’re talking dirty and he reaches down to have a rub of his Victorian manliness, on the outside, note, he’s not even putting his hands inside his pants. At no time do the two people touch each other. Does this count as sex work? Surely not. 

Well, no, everywhere else in the world, it wouldn’t.* 

But in Victoria, it does! See our What is Sex Work page for the legal definitions of what constitutes sex work.

Hence, we applaud any recommendations in Fiona Patten’s Review to legally redefine sex work, cos we don’t think that the scenario above ought to be considered sex work

How did a definition like this come about? This legal definition of sex work was designed to cover grey areas when it came to regulating activities taking place in strip clubs back in the bad old days. 

 *note: We make this claim with the disclaimer that we haven’t examined the entire global body of sex work laws, so don’t quote us. An equally odd definition of sex work may exist in another jurisdiction’s legal code. Who knows? Let’s know if you find something.

2 June 2020: Coronavirus and the Review

By now we’re all familiar with how coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our lives. But how will it impact the Review?

It seems the government wants to maintain a fairly tight schedule re the Review, and delays so far have only been around one month. The reality is that reviewing the sorry state affairs of Victoria’s sex work laws is a mammoth task. And the time and resources allocated don’t seem to do the task justice. There is just so much to cover, and figuring out how to implement the principles of sex work decriminalisation into existing state and local government laws will necessarily be a complex job. 

The concern is that if adequate time, resources and consultation are not provided to the Review, the task may end up being even more difficult and even more complex.