In absolutely excellent news, street-based sex work has officially been decriminalised in Victoria after years of activism from sex workers.

Victoria first announced sex work would be decriminalised in September 2021.

The decriminalisation of street-based sex work is the first phase of that change. The rules making street-based sex work legal in more places officially came into effect on Tuesday.

Street-based sex work will only be considered an offence if it’s carried out near places of worship, schools and care facilities between 6am and 7pm, and on holidays.

The second stage of decriminalisation will come in 2023 when the sex work licensing system is scrapped.

Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party and former sex worker, spoke about the importance of decriminalisation in a social media post.

“From today, sex workers will start being treated like everyone else,” she wrote. 

“They’ll be given better protections from discrimination, lighter restrictions on how they can advertise, and street based sex work will no longer be a criminal offence in most places.

“From today, sex work will be treated like any other occupation — as it should be.”

The laws are important because they should protect sex workers from being discriminated against because of their work. They come after decades of activist work by Victoria’s sex workers.

Victoria’s Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt said decriminalisation would help protect sex workers.

“With a dedicated sex work safety team within WorkSafe, we’ll make sure sex work is regulated appropriately, with the best guidance and procedures in place to keep workers safe,” Stitt said, as per The Guardian.

Her words were echoed by Victoria’s Minister for Consumer Affairs Melissa Horne.

“It’s an important milestone for sex work decriminalisation in Victoria and another step in ensuring the industry is regulated safely and fairly,” she said, as per 9News.

When sex work is fully decriminalised in Victoria, it’ll bring the state up to speed with laws in the ACT, Queensland and NSW.

Image: Getty Images / Marco Ravagli