Politicians shouldn’t meddle in sex work industry

Jul 1, 2014
Politics
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In 2010, Vicki Dunne  prompted the ACT government to hold an inquiry into sex work laws in the ACT, compelling the Health Directorate, the Australian Federal Police and ACT Policing to prepare evidence for consideration.

One of the many rules of political inquiries of course is that you don’t call for one unless you pretty much know what the outcome will be. Dunne thought she did know: surely everyone would agree with her that sex work is “not normal”, a terrible scourge afflicting society and spreading disease and crime among an otherwise sober and boring Canberra. But no, other (some would say more informed) members of the public sphere in the ACT disagreed.

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The Health Directorate made the following statement to the inquiry: “We note … the highly successful partnership approach [between government and sex workers] in responding to sexually transmissible infections… Sex workers are considered important public health partners and the ACT Health Directorate has explicitly acknowledged their importance in helping to contain STIs… Sex workers usually have greater levels of education and effectiveness in relation to the use of barrier protection, as well as a high degree of self efficacy in relation to the protection of their own sexual health.”

ACT Policing made observations that were similarly in contradictions to Dunne’s opinion: “… it is our view that the ACT has not experienced the same levels of correlation between the sex industry and criminality as other juristdictions… It is fair to say that we do not view the ACT sex industry as a provenance of significant criminality in this jurisdiction.”

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