How sex worker activism influenced the decriminalisation of sex work in NSW, Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 2019, 8 (2), pp. 50 - 67
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© The Author(s) 2019 In 2015, Amnesty International joined over 200 sex worker organisations in the call for nations to decriminalise sex work. Despite this, only two jurisdictions in the world, New Zealand and New South Wales (NSW; Australia), have adopted this approach. This article examines the role that sex worker activists played in sex work law reform in NSW through their representative organisation, the Australian Prostitutes Collective (APC). The APC produced and submitted groundbreaking research to the Select Committee of the NSW Legislative Assembly on Prostitution (1983–1986) whose recommendations laid the foundation for the decriminalisation of sex work in NSW. This article contributes to a developing history of the contribution of sex worker activism to law reform. It explores why it is so important that sex worker voices are included in the process of reform, and how meaningful consultation with sex workers helped shape and invoke a radical policy and legal transformation.
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