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"Submission to Human Rights Commission" Dec 2014

Sex worker human rights are of international concern. An increasing number of United Nations bodies and reports are calling for the decriminalisation of sex work and anti-discrimination protections for sex worker as a matter of public health, public morality and public policy. At the International AIDS Conference in July, sex workers from over 30 countries developed a Consensus Statement demanding a decriminalised legal environment and end to stigma and discrimination. In 2013 the Global Network of Sex Work Projects ascertained key human rights for sex workers through a global consultation. In 2012 the Global Commission on HIV and Law found that punitive laws against sex work create a state-sanctioned culture of exploitation and police violence. That same year, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNDP found that decriminalisation is necessary for health and safety at work, and that sex workers should be supported to participate in setting national priorities. The 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS committed signatories including Australia to protect and promote human rights for sex workers as a critical element in combating HIV. The 2009 UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work recognises that sex workers face substantial obstacles to accessing HIV prevention where sex work is criminalised.
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