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QLRC releases consultation paper on decriminalising sex work industry

The Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) has released a consultation paper on a framework for a decriminalised sex work industry in Queensland.

The QLRC intends to develop a regulatory framework focused on fairness, safety and health.

Two forms of sex work are currently lawful in Queensland – sex work in a licensed brothel and private sex work performed alone. Other forms of sex work are illegal. Key stakeholders assert the current regulatory scheme has negative impacts on the rights, health and safety of some sex workers.

In light of this, the QLRC proposes to afford sex workers the same rights, protections and obligations as other workers. The QLRC acknowledges some sex work-specific regulation might also be needed under the new framework to address particular risks or harms in the sex work industry.

The consultation paper asks questions related to a broad range of issues, such as:

  • what the new framework for a decriminalised sex work industry should look like and who it should apply to
  • the need for offences to protect adults and children from commercial sexual exploitation
  • whether licensing requirements for operators of sex work businesses are needed, and if so, what they should be
  • how workplace laws and public health laws apply to the sex work industry and what other provisions or measures might be needed
  • how planning laws might apply under the framework and what changes might be needed to support public amenity and the aims of decriminalisation
  • whether specific rules about advertising in the sex work industry are necessary or desirable
  • issues and concerns about public solicitation and street-based sex work and how this might be addressed
  • whether there should be a requirement in Queensland legislation to review the new framework
  • potential impacts for the sex work industry and government, including the current licensed brothel industry, of moving to the new framework
  • within the context of the new framework, what, if any, changes to the law are needed to deal with situations where a person has promised to pay money to a sex worker for a sexual act, but the payment is not made.

Read the QLRC consultation paper. Interested parties may lodge submissions to the QLRC directly by 3 June 2022. QLS members interested in contributing to the Society’s submission are invited to send comments to policy@qls.com.au by COB 27 May 2022.

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