The Sex Industry in New South Wales: a Report to the NSW Ministry of Health

Donovan, B., Harcourt, C., Egger, S., Watchirs Smith, L., Schneider, K., Kaldor, J.M., Chen, M.Y., Fairley, C.K.
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The Law and Sexworker Health (LASH) team at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales were funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to better inform policy considerations, and the National Health and Medical Research Council to investigate if the various approaches across Australian jurisdictions were associated with different health and welfare outcomes for sex workers.

They looked at Sydney (where adult sex work is largely decriminalised), Perth (where most forms of commercial sex are illegal) and Melbourne (where sex work is 'legalised' but sex workers  / brothels must be licensed.)

The LASH team determined that:

  • the removal of most criminal sanctions did not increase the incidence of commercial sex in NSW
  • compared to sex workers surveyed in Melbourne's licensed brothels and in Perth, brothel-based sex workers in Sydney were better educated, and were more likely to have been born in an Asian or other non-English speaking countries.  Migrant sex workers in Sydney achieved similar excellent levels of sexual health as their local counterparts
  • condom use at work approaches 100% in Sydney brothels and the prevalence of the main STI's was at least as low as the general population

The LASH team's recommendations include:

  • NSW Government's legislative reforms of 1979 and 1995 that decriminalised adult sex work should be endorsed
  • Licensing of sex work ('legalisation') should not be regarded as a viable legislative response
  • The word 'brothel' as defined in the legislation should not apply when up to 4 private sex workers work cooperatively from private premises

You can download this 54 page PDF report above.

This resource is in English