So is it legal? A question I get A LOT! This blog will cover the current legislation in WA and briefly touch on the other Australian states, I will also have a quick look at the general legislative models that are applied. Please understand that my word is not gospel. The following is what i have understood from my research. I highly recommend checking out your local sex worker organisation and doing your own research if needed!
First of all, if you are after an indepth look at laws the Scarlet Alliance has great information available HERE. Let me follow that up with the ONLY legislative model that works and that sex workers want is Decriminalisation. #decrimforthewin
WA is legislated by the Prostitution Act 2000. Technically Sex Work is criminalised in Western Australia. The main focus is solicitation and street based sex work. Our laws are convoluted and confusing. Technically you can be a sex worker (in a parlour, independently and or as an escort). It is illegal to live of the proceeds of prostitution, this could be applied to dependants of sex workers, receptionists, drivers and more. It is illegal to provide sexual services without the appropriate prophylactic. It is also illegal to advertise for staff for sex work establishments/agencies (including receptionists, drivers and cleaning staff).
Basically WA is a legal grey zone and many laws are not enforced. Street based sex work is really the only part of the industry that is heavily policed.
Personally I have worked as a sex worker and declared on my taxes as a sex worker in WA (and other states) for almost 10 years without any issue. However this criminalised system is detrimental to sex worker health, safety and well being.
I am not comfortable talking about the complexity of the federal laws that impact sex workers. I recommend reading Scarlet Alliances information HERE.
New South Wales
NSW has had FULL decriminalisation since 1995 and is basically the best thing EVER! Currently only NSW and New Zealand have Decrim world wide.
NT has a licensing system. Their laws are described in detail by the Scarlet Alliance HERE. Brothels and street based work are illegal. Private escorts are legal, though regulated under some advertising rules and can not work with a friend/partner without an escort agency licence. To work for an escort agency you must have a certificate to work from the police. The police hold a lot of power in NT.
Victoria is heavily regulated and licensed. The Scarlet alliance is a great resource and you can read more HERE. The LASH Study of 2007 proved that licensing models are dangerous to sex workers health and well being. (the LASH 2.0 Study is up and running you should check that out HERE). I am going to quote the Scarlet Alliances overview of the Victorian laws, as they are complex and it would take me forever to try and adequately explain them.
“In Victoria, the current regulatory system for sex work is licensing. Licensing creates a two-tiered sex industry where a small percentage of the industry can meet compliance requirements while the majority of the industry cannot and is forced to operate outside of the legal framework. Licensing limits sex workers’ choices over our working environment and style of work, by providing incentives and punishments to effectively coerce sex workers into Government-approved work. Licensing means reduced options for sex workers and reduced control over working environments and safety. As Vixen Collective (Victoria’s peer only sex worker organisation) also notes “Within the licensing system in Victoria, Victorian police fulfill an enforcement role, which creates significant barriers for sex workers accessing police assistance.”
The Victorian legislation is governed by the: Sex Work Act 1994 (formerly known as the “Prostitution Control Act 1994”), Sex Work Regulations 2006, Sex Work (Fees) Regulations 2004 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 200”
In QLD you can legally work in a licenced parlour or as a private escort. (As a private escort you can not work with a friend/partner, have a receptionist or security). All other forms of sex work are illegal. Read more HERE.
SA is currently completely criminalised. However there is a bill for decriminalisation in parliament. You can read more HERE. South Australia is heavily criminalised and most of the laws are over 50 years old. Hopefully the bill for decriminalisation passes. You can also look at the SA sex worker organisation SIN for more information.
Sex Work and the ATO
So I did a blog on tax and you can read that HERE…
I am not an accountant so i don’t want to give any wrong advice so here are some links to some reputable sources. I also recommend getting a GOOD sex worker friendly accountant to assist you.
ATO-Work Related Expenses.
SWOP – Do I Need To Pay Tax?
Scarlet Alliance – Tax
SWOP – Tax Information
Magenta – Tax Help
AIC – Adult Industry and tax
Soooo…. That is me done for this week. Hopefully you have a greater insight to sex work legislation. If you want to help campaign or support decriminalisation in your hometown get in contact with your local sex worker organisation. (If possible a peer based organisation is my recommendation). If you are a WA local People for sex worker Rights in WA are active on Twitter and often have campaigns, protests and more!/
If you are a current sex worker who has worked in Western Australia then PLEASE check out the LASH (Law and Sex worker Health) Study. ( @LASH_Study on twitter). It is your chance to have your say about sex work and the results help us campaign for legislative change!