Sex work and legality in Vic, Australia. Unpacked system for US friend on FB then thought a cross-post might interest some.
- Friend: I know it’s not your job to educate me, BUT So the way in works in Australia, I gather, is that if you want to go into sex work, you obtain licenses of varying degrees? 36 minutes ago · Like
- Me: Depends what you wanna do. To go indie escort or start yer own business you need an SWA, which is a rego no (ie you go on a government register as a sex worker once your application for an SWA is approved; the register isn’t open to the general public, though, and you can be removed from it whenever you wanna) and permit. Otherwise you just go work for someone with their own SWA like a parlour or escort agency. Or you work outside the strictures of the Sex Work Act; ie your work is criminalised.
The Sex Work Act heavily regulates the ways in which we can work without fear of criminal penalty. For instance as an indie you can’t do incall and may only use head and shoulder shots in advertising. Ads cannot describe services offered. They must all display yer SWA number. Any indie work performed without an SWA is criminalised, as are both running and working for an unlicensed agency or parlour. Any venues offering genital contact must operate only from areas zoned industrial.
Strip clubs don’t have SWAs, since you can’t have an SWA in conjunction with a liquor license. This means Victorian strip clubs can’t offer any insertion or genital contact. Genital contact is defined in the Sex Work Act as comprising any clothed or unclothed contact with any of the usual suspects and/or butthole. Contact all other places is legal sans SWA. Club rules vary on contact and frequently restrict it more tightly than the Act requires. Mine allows all lawful contact.
That’s the law in Victoria though. Sex work’s regulated at state level, so each Aussie state has its own system. SA has full criminalisation, NSW is fully decriminalised (though both SA and NSW are looking like switching to the sort of really flawed, super-regulated legal model typically found in this country). The remaining states have legalised systems of varying design.
Legalisation basically equals a bifurcated system of criminalised and legally permitted modes of sex workin’. The legal modes are pretty much invariably regulated up the wazoo, often in nonsensical ways. Australia’s got strong nanny state proclivities. Politicians particularly adore the blanket ban. BDSM porn is straight-out illegal, for eg, not that this means all that much in an internet age.
Me: Decriminalisation means sex work is removed entirely from the criminal law’s reach. It can still be regulated civilly, eg via council zoning regulations, labour law, occupational health and safety legislation. A few seconds ago · Like
My favorite ever Australian/human wrote all this out for me, so I’m cross-posting from FB. “Legalized” sex work is a lot more regulated than I imagined it would be because I forgot about politicians for a brief, beautiful moment.