‘Decriminalise sex work’
FIJI needs to decriminalise sex work, says Strumphet Alliance Network project co-ordinator Sophie Radrodro.
Ms Radrodro said decriminalisation would not eliminate human trafficking, abuse and violence but it would reduce the impact on people from marginalised communities.
“Decriminilisation refers to the removal of all criminal and administrative prohibitions and penalties on sex work, including laws targeting sex workers’ clients, brothel owners,” she said.
“It goes hand in hand with recognising sex work as work and protecting the rights of sex workers through labour work and workplace health and safety regulations. It differs from legalisation.”
She said the organisation had not submitted proposals to relevant stakeholders on the decriminalisation of sex work in the country.
“We are beginning by bridging the gaps at spaces we are part of as a way forward and identifying our barriers then submitting a proposal and addressing policy makers together with the Fiji Sex Workers Alliance on what the law states in Section 231 of the Crimes Decree 2009.
“Decriminilisation will bring about change. It will empower sex workers to come forward to lodge complaints against authorities who act unlawfully and to bring offenders to justice without fear of negative consequences for their own lives.
“It will bring about transparency between sex workers and law enforcement, health providers and combat stigma and restore inherent constitutional rights.”
Ms Radrodro added that by criminalising sex work, the system was further dehumanising groups that were already among the most marginalised in society.