‘De­crim­i­nalise sex work’

The Fiji Times - - NATIONAL NEWS - By VISHAAL KU­MAR

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.

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