Adelaide sex work supporters will demonstrate today for the decriminalisation of the industry in South Australia, calling for motorists to ‘honk for hookers’.
The roadside gathering from 9:30–11:30 am and 3:30–5:30 pm will be held outside the Sex Industry Network (SIN) office at 220 South Rd, Mile End, to mark International Sex Workers’ Day.
The day, held annually on 2 June, celebrates the birth of the modern sex worker rights movement in Lyon, France, 43 years ago.
On this day, sex workers staged a sit-in to protest police brutality and the lack of police attention to crimes against sex workers.
While the sex industry remains criminalised in South Australia and many other jurisdictions, advocates say this legislative framework is out of step with community ideals.
South Australian sex workers continue to face disproportionate levels of policing.
Sex workers report feeling unsupported by police and disempowered to report crimes in both professional and personal contexts, having to weigh their safety against the fear of criminalisation.
Kat Morrison, General Manager of SIN, said that industry law reform is long overdue in the state.
“SIN is pushing for the decriminalisation of the sex industry – a best-practice framework supported by Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and sex workers around the world,” said Morrison.
“Decriminalisation will provide better health outcomes for sex workers.
“As Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier stated in her parliamentary select committee briefing only days ago, when sex work is illegal, it creates barriers to healthcare screening, health services, and safe sex.”
Roxana Diamond, a South Australian sex worker and academic, said that workers deserve to be safe and have access to support systems free from discrimination and stigma.
South Australian sex workers are again asking the government to amend current legislation, in the 14th attempt at law reform for the state.
The organisers said that SIN supports the Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offenses) Bill currently before a parliamentary select committee.
“The human and industrial rights of sex workers must be acknowledged by the unhindered passage of this bill through parliament,” they said.
Other sex worker organisations around Australia and the world will also hold events to mark International Sex Workers’ Day.