Decriminalisation, Legalisation, Swedish Model, #RightsNotRescue
If you watched Lateline on 13/03/2015 you would have seen a few segments discussing Decriminalisation, Legalisation and Criminalisation. You would have seen the discussion on the Swedish model for sex work. If you didn’t feel free to read the transcripts for the interviews listed below
I will be totally honest in saying I found all of the above interview difficult to watch. Why? Because the host seemed to have a problem with Sex Work being legitimate work. But Sex Work is Legitimate Work lets be clear on that before I proceed.
Everyones experience within this industry is different. There are good experiences, bad experiences and experiences in between. But think about this. When you go to work, do you always have a great day at work? Or sometimes do you have a bad day? Are you always in a job where you have a great boss or are there times when you don’t? Some people experience sexual harassment in their work places. Some people have a great work place. This applies to sex work as well.
We all have a job to earn an income.. Sometimes you aren’t in a job you like, but you go so you can earn an income to pay bills, to be able to enjoy thing in life. Sex work is like any other job we go to work to earn an income to pay our bills.. We pay taxes, we need health insurance, car insurance, home insurance. We need to buy groceries, and pay our rent or loans, and we like to enjoy our lives.
Most sex workers don’t dream of being sex workers as a child.. But as adults we have the ability to be able to make choices on what we wish to do for a living. If I choose to be a sex worker then that is my choice. If I found it wasn’t suitable for me I have no issue with leaving of my own free will and look else where for work. But its still my choice if I wish to stay. Decriminalisation means that as a grown woman I can choose to do sex work safely.. and operate in an effective manner and also in a way where it is recognised as a job like any other small business.
There are those in the industry who have mental health issues, drug issues, alcohol issues and use sex work to support themselves. By decriminalising sex work it means that if they choose so they can have access to health professionals if needed. Please note (as was pointed out to me via twitter) – these issues are not specific to sex work. These issues can and do apply to people in other business and professions besides sex workers…
There is a lot of stigma about sex work that can be detrimental to us as humans, as people. It means that many cant be open about their work on rental applications, loan application, it isn’t something that we can put on our resume if we decide to apply for work else where, it means that many feel they have to live double lives and how can this be healthy for those who choose to do this for work?
SEX WORK IS REAL WORK.
Lets talk about the meanings
Whats the difference between Decriminalisation and Legalisation
“Legalization would mean the regulation of prostitution with laws regarding where, when, and how prostitution could take place. Decriminalization eliminates all laws and prohibits the state and law-enforcement officials from intervening in any prostitution-related activities or transactions, unless other laws apply.”
“There is no official definition of legalized or decriminalized prostitution. Those who are not familiar with the contemporary discussion about prostitution law reform usually use the term ‘legalization’ to mean any alternative to absolute criminalization, ranging from licensing of brothels to the lack of any laws about prostitution. Most references to law reform in the media and in other contemporary contexts use the term ‘legalization’ to refer to any system that allows some prostitution. These common definitions of legalization are extremely broad. Conflicting interpretations of this term often cause confusion in a discussion of reform….[T]he term legalization usually refers to a system of criminal regulation and government control of prostitutes…
[T]he term decriminalization… mean the removal of laws against prostitution…”
“Decriminalization essentially means the removal of laws against this and other forms of sex work…
By contrast the term legalization usually refers to a system of governmental regulation of prostitutes wherein prostitutes are licensed and required to work in specific ways…. This is the practice in Nevada, the only state in the United States where brothels are legal. Although legalization can also imply a decriminalized, autonomous system of prostitution, the reality is that in most ‘legalized’ systems the police control prostitution with criminal codes. Laws regulate prostitutes’ businesses… prescribing health checks and registration of health status.”
- We currently have a system of decriminalisation in NSW, which we have had for 17 years.
- Decriminalisation was introduced because of corruption by police and by removing police as regulators has successfully addressed corruption. Police are inappropriate regulators of the sex industry and we are glad they’re out!
- We have a very strong base of evidence and experience that supports decriminalisation as the best model of regulation of the sex industry. We have equally strong evidence of the failure of licensing and registration in other states.
- Decriminalisation is supported by the United Nations, and NSW is world renowned for its best- practice model. A move away from decriminalisation is to step back 17 years in sex worker health and safety.
- Decriminalisation is what sex workers want. The current regulatory system is the best and we do not need a reform to the current system in NSW.
- Decriminalisation has brought improved work safety, high rates of safer sex practice and low rates of sexually transmitted infections and no evidence of organised crime.
- Decriminalisation means sex workers can access support in the event of a crime.
- Decriminalisation means that sex industry businesses are already regulated like other businesses, subject to existing regulatory mechanisms such as local council planning and zoning regulations, WorkCover and the Australian Taxation Office. Suggested improvements would be if these mechanisms were applied fairly and sex industry businesses were actually treated like any other business.
- A decriminalised system amplifies opportunities for outreach, magnifies capacities for peer education, supports sex worker self-determination, maximises compliance, increases transparency and minimises discrimination.
In conclusion, decriminalisation is the only option to ensure – The health and safety of sex workers, to ensure the right to run our business properly, to help remove stigma and separate sex work and sex trafficking. To ensure there are good laws not bad ones.