Responding to reports the government will establish a Brothel Licensing Authority, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann says a brothel licensing scheme will be a public health disaster for NSW, and could lead to increased rates of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“The evidence against licensing is overwhelming. It will lead to poorer health and public safety outcomes, not just for sex workers but for the entire community,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“Licensing schemes have been a dismal failure in other states. Where they exist they are extremely expensive and have the opposite effect of what is intended, creating a more dangerous environment for sex workers and their clients.
“In contrast, NSW has an enviable record on HIV prevention, and this is partly down to the decriminalisation model and the services that are therefore freely available from organisations like the Sex Workers Outreach Project.
“In Queensland, where brothel licensing scheme operates, around 90% of the industry has been forced underground. That means the majority of sex work is unregulated, illegal and therefore more dangerous. Workers and clients simply don’t have the kind of access to health services and law enforcement that is necessary.
“The timing of this announcement is typical. This isn’t about protecting women and cleaning up the sex industry, this is a cynical attempt to politicise another controversial issue for political gain.
“No one is suggesting there aren’t problems or improvements that could be made. Currently there are very comprehensive planning guidelines for brothel regulation that are not applied consistently by local government. This is where improvements can be made.
“I challenge the government to point to a single licensing scheme elsewhere in the world that has improved health and public safety outcomes. It simply doesn’t exist,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727