Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalizes sex work!

The Sex Industry Bill 2019 was adopted in the Northern Territory Parliament on Tuesday, as Attorney-General Natasha Fyles pushes through change

Sex work has now been decriminalized in Australia‘s Northern Territory — with the Territory Parliament voting 16-5 to repeal the NT’s old sex work laws and pass a new act.

Territory politicians voted to adopt the new legislation which means brothels, soliciting and home-based sex work are no longer illegal, although the Government refused to remove penalties for non-compliant advertising.

NT Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the new act was about keeping workers safe.

“When you take the word ‘sex’ out of it, we are looking at it from a worker safety perspective and we are looking it from regulating it so our community has a say in it,” she said.

“We have taken the approach that this is something that happens in our communities and we want to regulate that so that communities can have a say on what activities take place and we look at this through a business framework.”

Ms Fyles also said the NT Government would not allow brothels to operate next door to childcare centres or schools but was not able to say exactly how far away the businesses could be.

Speaking on the bill, Member for Braitling Dale Wakefield broke down in tears.

“I do know many fabulous and fierce women who have been in the sex work industry in the past, in the present and possibly in the future and they deserve, like anyone, any worker anywhere to access services when and where they need it, to report a crime, to have a violence-free workplace and to be able to control the manner in which they do their job,” she said.

The Scarlet Alliance, the peak body representing Australian sex workers, said the vote meant that the NT had become just the third jurisdiction in the world to decriminalise sex work.

Australia's Northern Territory decriminalizes sex work!
Leanne Melling and Jules Kim
PHOTO: Outreach worker Leanne Melling and Jules Kim from the Scarlet Alliance spoke in support of the reforms.

Sex Worker Outreach Program NT coordinator Leanne Melling has long been advocating for the change.

“It’s going to be a very huge relief, I think it will set a precedent as well for other sex workers who are fighting for rights,” she said.

“Sex workers have had a gutful of registering for life with police. It’s draconian, it’s problematic, it’s caused a lot of pain for sex workers.”

527440cookie-checkAustralia’s Northern Territory decriminalizes sex work!

Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalizes sex work!

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