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Queensland sex work one step closer to decriminalisation

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Sex work in Queensland will be decriminalised under new laws introduced by the Government this week. The changes are expected to pass.
Sex work in Queensland

The Queensland Government has introduced laws to decriminalise sex work across the state.

The proposed laws will remove existing penalties specifically targeting sex workers, and introduce new safety measures.

The legislation follows last year’s independent review of the state’s sex work laws.

The changes are expected to pass Parliament with the support of the Labor Government.

Sex work in Queensland

Under Queensland’s current laws, sex work is legal in licensed brothels or by private sex workers who work independently.

Sex workers who work together, or who work in a public setting like soliciting on the street, have risked criminal charges.

The Queensland Law Reform Commission found that current laws limited the protection of sex workers, and made it difficult for them to report crimes committed against them to the police. It made 47 recommendations in its report.

The legislation tabled on Thursday will remove criminal offences specific to sex workers, and add new safety protections.

This would include allowing workers to operate with others outside of a brothel.

Discrimination laws currently targeting sex workers would also be removed under the draft laws, including limits on booking hotels and accommodation.

Queensland Government response

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the draft laws would help sex workers feel more protected.

Advocacy group Respect Inc. has responded to concerns the changes will see the sex work industry increase in Qld. It said when sex work was decriminalised in New Zealand, it did not lead to an increased number of sex workers.

Sex work has already been decriminalised in several parts of Australia, including NSW, Vic and the NT.

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