Scarlet Alliance

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Human Rights

Sex workers in Australia are denied protection under Human Rights legislation (except in ACT) and many state laws actively discriminate. The Right to ‘work (and) free choice of employment’ is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ongoing criminalisation, pathologisation and police control of sex workers in Australia infringes upon that right. In many states working legally as a private worker in the sex industry also means giving up rights to privacy due to the imperative to register (either formally or informally) with a Prostitution Control Board (eg Victoria, ACT), or police (WA) or having to apply for a D.A. with the local council (NSW, with the exception of South Sydney Council). Strict over-regulation results in many workers choosing to go into brothels in order to avoid Police, Council and Control Board attention. Street based workers suffer police harassment and are completely criminalised in most states. In NSW where street based sex work is decriminalised, the biggest threat to the human rights of street based sex workers is the gentrification of decriminalised areas, pushing workers further and further away from the city. In WA ‘move on Notices’ and ‘Restraining Orders’ are used to keep people “suspected of the intention of seeking a client” out of the inner city, curtailing freedom of movement. Scarlet Alliance supports the human rights of all sex workers to work where and how they want to, and with full access to human rights such as privacy, freedom of movement and freedom from harassment.

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