Decriminalise Sex Work | Respect QLD

Decriminalise Sex Work

Many Queensland laws are not workable and criminalise basic sex worker safety strategies. It is the position of Respect Inc that full decriminalisation is the best legal framework for sex workers in Queensland. Find out more about the campaign to decriminalise sex work in Queensland:

Laws in Queensland

Sex work and the sex industry in Queensland are regulated by laws in: the Prostitution Act (Qld) 1999; the Criminal Code 1899, Section 22A and sections of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000.
The Prostitution Act 1999 came into effect in July 2000 and introduced a brothel licensing system, established the Prostitution Licensing Authority and allowed for the development of Regulations.
Information on the laws for sex workers in Queensland is available in this Respect Inc. resource.

Queensland laws have failed

The laws in Queensland have failed on a number of counts. They have:

  • failed to provide safe working environments for sex workers, with many aspects of the laws endangering sex workers’ safety.
  • failed to effectively regulate the industry, with only 20 legal brothels in the state and the majority of the industry forced to operate outside the arduous, expensive system.
  • failed to deliver a cost-effective system of regulation, costing taxpayers approximately $10 million and showing no likelihood of becoming sustainable through licensing fees.
  • failed to protect against police corruption, as police are now, once again, the regulators of the majority of the sex industry.

Who we are

#DecrimQLD is a committee of sex workers who have joined with Respect Inc., to progress the removal of harmful and discriminatory sex work laws and achieve decriminalisation in Queensland.

Our campaign aims to:

  • raise awareness of the problems with the laws in Queensland

  • demonstrate the importance of removing harmful laws

  • provide information on decriminalisation and other models of sex work regulation

  • ensure policy discussions are informed by evidence, and

  • make sure sex workers inform any and all changes to the sex industry laws in Queensland.

Peer reviewed article

The Case for Decriminalisation in Qld – QUT Crime and Justice briefing paper, a publication of the Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre 


We have produced resources (infographics and videos) on why the laws in Queensland should be replaced with full decriminalisation.


The Sex work laws and workplace health and safety symposium report documents the outcomes of the Respect Inc and Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association event held at Brisbane Parliament House in November, 2018.The event was hosted by Peter Russo member for Toohey


Respect Inc & DecrimQLD Northern Territory submissions:

  1. Discussion Paper: Reforming Regulation of the Sex Industry in the Northern Territory, May 2019
  2. Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee on the Northern Territory Sex Industry Bill 2019, Oct 19


We have compiled samples of the extensive international evidence on the failure of licensing frameworks and the value of decriminalisation.


If you are a journalist interested in covering this topic download our Sex Work Media Guide on Respectful & Appropriate Language.

Take a look at our latest media articles.

Media releases

10 April, 2018

13 October, 2018

4 March, 2019

Contact us

e:         m: 0491 228 509       t:

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