Sex Worker Outreach Program (SWOP NT) Sex Worker Reference
Group (SWRG) Collective Submission in response to the Northern
Territory Government Discussion Paper – release September 2017
Modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act
“Laws discriminate against us which inadvertently justifies to the public that it is ok
to vilify us. Anti-discrimination protection for sex workers is recommended by various United Nations bodies,
including the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. It is in line with the World Association for Sexual
Health’s Millennium Declaration of Sexual Rights, Australia’s National STI and HIV Strategies, and the
whole-of-government approach to Social Inclusion (2)”
Excerpt from Submission #136 - SWOP NT – The Northern Territory Sex Worker Outreach Program - On behalf of; Northern Territory sex workers’ SWOP NT Sex Worker Reference Group (SWRG)
Response to the Northern Territory Government Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform 2017
Sex Workers Are Experts in our own Sexual and Reproductive Health
"The meaningful involvement of affected communities in sexual health responses improves the relevance, acceptability and effectiveness of sexual health programs, and recognises their right to self-determination and participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives."2
SWOP NT emphasises that sex workers are well equipped with knowledge of prevention of pregnancy during
the provision of sexual services at work. Methods of contraception are chosen to prevent BBV’s and STI’s and pregnancy and therefore includes frequent condom use.
- 136_SWOP_NT_pub-submission-NTGov-Decrim_Pregnancy_Termination_Abortion_27-01-17 MGP
- Submissions to Discussion Paper Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Improving access
Excerpt from SWOP NT submission - #139 - INQUIRY INTO THE REGULATION OF BROTHELS
Sex Workers in the NT are calling for the decriminalisation of sex work to ensure that sex workers privacy
and safety is recognized to enable access to workplace services with existing business mechanisms. NSW has in place a solid system of compliance through the Decriminalisation of sex work. Any system that deviates from Decriminalisation via for example over regulating with specialised licencing constraints creates a two tiered system where some workers are able to work legally and others are then by default of sex industry specific legislation criminalized………………….
Criminalization increases vulnerability to blood borne viruses (BBVs) & sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by fuelling stigma and discrimination. This sets up barriers preventing sex workers’ free access to sexual & reproductive health services, safer sex prophylactics and educational support networks, as provided by SWOP NT.
A prime example of domineering and dangerous legislation over the privacy and rights of sex workers in the Northern Territory is the mandatory requirement for sex workers who work under an escort agency’s management to register with police. This legislation was introduced initially with the intention to protect sex workers. The regulatory condition on escort agency workers has caused extensive harm to sex workers and to agency operators/managers in relation to privacy issues, disclosure of sex workers’ information inappropriately, and the lifelong recording of sex workers’ personal details.
Excerpt from SWOP NT # 53 – submission to the Select Committee on the Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015
Sex Workers Are the Experts
SWOP NT emphasises that sex workers are the key stakeholders in the industry and therefore are best
placed to evaluate any regulatory systems. As a peer program, SWOP NT is opposed to any regulation that will inhibit sex workers’ ability to work safely, and this includes reduced access to services. Sex workers within the SWOP NT program do not support the existing legislation specific to sex work that criminalises sex work in South Australia. SWOP NT supports the full decriminalisation of sex work which enables sex workers and operators of sex work businesses to be able to choose compliance with the states existing business legislation.
Sex workers as the key stakeholders, and health and legal professionals all over the world have endorsed decriminalisation of sex work to ensure sex workers’ human rights are actively supported. The holistic decriminalisation of sex work has now been ratified as best practice by respected academics and organisations including Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association2 , the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 3 , The Lancet medical journal, Amnesty International, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)4 , and the Network of Sex Worker Projects (NSWP). These all recognise the value of decriminalisation and the failure of licensing models in effectively regulating the sex industry.
The definitive word on sex industry licensing in NSW comes from The Kirby Institute’s 2012 Report to the NSW Ministry of Health, which states that licensing is a ‘threat to public health’ and should not be regarded as a viable legislative model.5
Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council submission
to the Religious Freedom Review Expert Panel
The NTAHC program, the SWOP NT and the SWRG submission excerpt as follows:
“SWOP NT recommends that there be “no religious exemptions” in the new Antidiscrimination Act (13)