Government Brothel Inquiry Opens the Door to Re-Regulation of Sex Work Against All the Evidence

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, and Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson, David Shoebridge MLC,  have criticised the recommendations of the NSW Legislative Assembly Select Committee on the Regulation of Brothels, which has today recommended that a licensing model be introduced in NSW.

Dr Faruqi said:

“The series of recommendations suggest a licensing scheme for NSW that we know will push sex work back into the shadows. It doesn’t work in Victoria, it doesn’t work in the ACT or Queensland, but the Government seems determined to push licensing regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

“The introduction of licensing will essentially see the creation of an underground sex work industry which health and workplace safety services will be increasingly unable to access.

“Licensing and regulation laws in other Australian states have resulted in discrimination against, and marginalisation of, sex workers.

“The current approach of decriminalisation of sex work in NSW is a best practice model for protecting rights as well as health outcomes for workers. Licensing models manifestly fail, for example in Queensland an estimated 90% of brothels and sex work remains either unregulated or illegal even under a licensing scheme.

“The Greens NSW absolutely condemn sex trafficking and all forms of violence against women and others. However, based on the evidence, sex trafficking will not be eradicated by implementing a licensing system for brothels, and that objective must be pursued by laws directly relating to exploitation and sex trafficking.  This report appears to deliberately conflate these issues” Dr Faruqi concluded.

Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson, David Shoebridge, said:

“NSW already has an international best practice decriminalisation model  that has broken the stronghold of criminal organisations over the industry and greatly improved the industrial rights and physical safety of sex workers.

“The Wood Royal Commission showed us the very real corruption risks that can occur when you have increased police powers overseeing the sex work industry.

“Treating sex work as just that, work, subject to the regular industrial, work health safety and planning laws of this state is ultimately in everyone’s best interests.” Mr Shoebridge said.

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