Scarlet Alliance

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"Sex workers rally against law reforms" AAP 13 Dec 2007

PROSTITUTES turned out in central Sydney today to mark the 5th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and also to oppose New South Wales law reforms.

Spokeswoman Janelle Fawkes said the new sex workers laws, which came into force across NSW in July, would have the effect of pushing the ages-old industry further underground.

Janelle Fawkes at the protest.
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"On the basis of a single complaint, local councils in NSW are able to seek extreme closure orders, including withholding utilities such as power and water," Ms Fawkes, chief executive of the Scarlett Alliance, said today.

"The unintended consequences include increased uncertainty in the industry, which makes compliance with its laws even more unlikely."

Ms Fawkes said Victoria was considering adopting similar laws, which hand more power to councils to regulate the industry and close down unauthorised brothels.

The laws also widen the scope for people to lodge complaints.

Ms Fawkes said the reforms signalled a collusion between government and larger brothels, while sex workers felt their rights to a safe workplace and to occupational health and safety had been stripped away.

"The NSW closure laws are simply opening more pathways for corruption, and are a revived form of sanctioned violence against sex workers," she said.

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