The Fiji Times

‘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.

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