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World’s Oldest Moralising comes to Melbourne

April 8, 2016

This weekend the “World’s Oldest Oppression” conference will be held in Melbourne bringing together conservatives and RadFems to stigmatise sex work and sex workers.

Julie Bindel, Rachel Moran, Dr Caroline Norma, Melinda Tankard Reist and others will be hosted by RMIT on April 9-10 at the Emily McPherson Building,

They’re a small but influential group that purport to save women from sex work yet they propagate the stigma and shame that harms and kills sex workers. They promote the harmful Swedish Model of criminalisation that got such a bad reputation they had to rebrand it as the Nordic Model. They are to sex work as the Australian Christian Lobby is to marriage equality. Totally and ideologically opposed without care for the harm their words and policies have on the lives of others.

In their campaigning they purport to care about survivors, women (and only women) who regret their experiences of sex work. Undoubtedly there are people who regret sex work. It’s not for everyone, but should their experiences be the basis of legislation for all?

There are women who regret their abortions. The anti-abortion lobby loves to spread stories of abortion regret. It feeds their desire to ban abortion everywhere. However most adults recognise abortion is not for everyone and while there are people who regret their abortion experience we don’t legislate abortion based solely on those experiences.

If you use a survivor’s regret to campaign the abolition of sex work in the same way others use abortion regret to campaign the abolition of abortion, you’re anti-choice, anti-autonomy, and in my opinion you’re not a feminist.

The Emily McPherson Building on Russell Street is diagonally opposite Trades Hall where on December 17 last year the Australian Sex Party’s Fiona Patten was joined by Victoria’s Equality Minister Martin Foley, Inner South Community Health CEO Damien Ferrie and sex worker Jane Green at Trades Hall to launch the campaign to Decriminalise Sex Work in Victoria.

Currently sex work in Victoria is regulated by the Sex Work Act 1994 and Sex Work Regulations 2006. It’s created a two tiered system where sex workers face barriers to reporting violence and are subject to discrimination.

Decriminalisation is the legal framework that sex workers and sex worker community-based groups recommend. It has demonstrated benefits in health outcomes with lower transmission rates of STIs, and lessens the opportunities for corruption. It has worked in New South Wales and it is acknowledged as best practice by the UN, the WHO and Amnesty International.

Sex workers have voices and they are using them. They are speaking against those who presume to use the experiences of survivors to endanger their lives. They are campaigning against the Swedish Model and in favour of decriminalisation.

This weekend be an ally.
Follow @VixenCollective and the hashtags #sexwork and #RMIT2016 on Twitter for updates
Listen to sex workers, support sex workers and help us save lives.

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