No more fear of police: South Australia is close to fully decriminalising sex work | 6/5/2019 | Staff
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South Australia is a crucial step closer to becoming one of few places in the world to decriminalize sex work.

After 13 attempts in recent years, a bill for sex work law reform passed South Australia's upper house—the Legislative Council. Next, the bill will head to the House of Assembly.

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Current South Australian sex industry laws are outdated and law reform is desperately needed. As a sex worker and researcher of South Australia's sex industry, I've found decriminalizing sex work will not only allow us to conduct our work with more safety and dignity, it will also free us from the fear of police detection and heavy-handed police raids.

While an amendment to the bill was introduced, which allows police to enter anywhere commercial sex occurs if they suspect a crime has been, or will be, committed, the new bill still brings sex workers some relief from general policing.

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Policing sex work prohibits sex workers from reporting crimes committed against them. In fact, many sex workers I interviewed for my research said they are more afraid of police detection and being charged or fined, than screening out dangerous clients.

One research participant said:

Concern - Someone - Client - Something - Comparison

"You feel like there's a slight concern that someone, a client might hurt you or something like that, there is absolutely no comparison to the fear that I have of the police."

What does the bill aim to do?

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This bill aims to delete the term "common prostitute" from the Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1935) and Summary offenses Act (1953). It also removes common law offenses relating to sex work, inserting the definition of "sex work" into the Equal Opportunity Act and adding clauses that will make it unlawful to discriminate against a person because they are, or were, a sex worker.

The bill amends the Spent Convictions Act by deleting a person's criminal record relating...
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