sex services

Here’s What You Should Know About the Legality of Sex Services in Victoria

A peek into history

In 1992, prostitution was decriminalised in Australia after the passing of the Prostitution Act 1992. Escort agencies and brothels are legal, provided they along with all workers must be registered through the Office of Regulatory Services.

However, legislation regarding prostitution in Australia differs from state to state. Are you looking for the best Melbourne brothels? Let’s take a little about the scenario in Victoria before that.

Brothel prostitution in Victoria was tacitly tolerated initially, but it was in 1984 that the first legislation, the Planning (Brothels) Act 1984, was passed in the state. Over the following decade, significant attention led to the passage of the Prostitution Control Act 1994, which was amended in 2011 to be called the Sex Work Act 1994.

Consumer Affairs Victoria regulated brothels, just like it would regulate motor vehicle traders and estate agents. Street-based sex work was illegal.

The Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022

With times changing rapidly, Australia has brought about notable changes in the legality of sex services. In Victoria, finding an Asian brothel or legal sex services has become a lot easier with the passage of the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act, 2022.

The new law acknowledges sex work as legitimate and every sex worker in Victoria deserves to feel safe just like workers from all other industries. The legislation also gives street-based sex workers the freedom to operate in specific locations and during specific times of the day within safety-focused norms. The new law, however, makes it an offence to carry out sex work near schools, hospitals, care institutions, and places of worship.

The decriminalisation of street-based sex work in the state will take place in two stages so that the government gets time for making the regulatory transition. The first stage of decriminalisation already started on 10 May this year and includes the following:

·        Decriminalising street-based sex work in specific locations

·        Repealing offences for doing sex work with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and undergoing regular testing

·        Repealing offences for not following safe sex practices

·        Repealing the register for small owner-operator sex service provider

·        Regulating advertising controls

·        Amending the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

The second stage of decriminalisation is expected to start in December 2023 and will include the following:

·        abolishing the licensing system for sex work service providers by repealing the Sex Work Act 1994

·        Changing planning controls to consider sex work operators and agencies just like other businesses

·        Reinforcing offences pertaining to children and coercion to continue their operation after repealing the Sex Work Act 1994

·        Establishing proper liquor controls

·        Repealing escort agency and brothel provisions included in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

How Decriminalisation Will Benefit Sex Workers?

The Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 is expected to ensure the safety of sex workers just like workers in other industries by providing equal treatment. The new law increases the safety, human rights, and health of sex workers, while also minimising stigma around sex work and fear of criminal consequences.

In Victoria, sex work is presently regulated and controlled under a legalised framework, meaning sex work and services are only legal if they take place under conditions specified in the Sex Work Act 1994.

Sex workers in Victoria have lived experiences under the Sex Work Act 1994 that often put them in risky situations. However, the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 guarantees that sex workers in the state:

·        Get more agency to choose where they offer their sex services as well as their sexual health requirements,

·        Are regulated and treated like workers in any other industry to get over discrimination and stigma,

·        Get better access to legal and health services

With the passage of the new law, it’s expected that there will be more transparency to discourage criminal infiltration of the sex work industry. Offences pertaining to child sex trafficking, coercion, abuse, and other criminal activities will continue to apply.

Victoria becomes the third jurisdiction in Australia to decriminalise sex work following New South Wales in 1995 and after that the Northern Territory in 2019. The state government expressed that sex workers in Victoria would gain more confidence to report crimes and get the necessary support thanks to the new legislation.

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