In support of Fiona Patten MP’s long-term efforts to decriminalise prostitution, the Andrews Government passed the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 in the Upper House by 24 votes to 10 last week.
This new law doesn’t provide sufficient safety measures and protections for sex workers as the government claims. On the contrary, it puts sex workers at greater risks by removing some of the safety health measures and legalising street prostitution.
Under the new law, street prostitution is allowed in most areas except near schools, childcare services, and places of worship between 6am and 7pm and on holy days.
Though the Andrews Government and Fiona Patten want to provide better protections and recognition to the sex work industry, and remove stigma and discrimination from sex workers, what they have done will normalise prostitution and change the moral compass of society.
Once this law comes into effect…
Street soliciting will take place in most areas at most times
Brothels will be set up anywhere, by anyone
Landlords cannot refuse to rent their property to be used for legal sex work
Sex work will be promoted and recognised like any other work industry
Paid prostitution will be normalised and seen as an essential service
It will become normal for our children to see women and men soliciting on the street, and there will be nothing you can do if a “private brothel” is opened next door to your house.
For thousands of years, the wisdom literature has advised us to stay away from prostitution for good reasons. Proverbs 6:25-26 says, “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a load of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.”
Prostitution has neither been beneficial to sex workers, nor to the community. Many sex workers have been enslaved mentally and physically, and experienced countless traumas. Many marriages and families have also been destroyed by spouses purchasing sex.
Instead of decriminalising prostitution, it would be better to introduce the Nordic Model of prostitution reform – which has proven successful overseas in helping sex workers out of prostitution. Vulnerable sex workers deserve better help, support and employment. The Government should seek to end prostitution and sex trafficking by criminalising pimps and sex buyers, instead of promoting the sex industry.
If the Government and Fiona Patten genuinely care about sex workers, they should provide funding to help train these vulnerable people with new skills so they can get better employment. But what they have done by passing this law is hypocritical. They’re enabling the sex industry and organised crime to flourish, at the expense of prostitutes and the community.