Jade Barker, Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) project co-ordinator:
Legalisation of brothels refers to the use of criminal laws to regulate a sex industry business by determining the legal conditions under which the sex industry can operate.
Unfortunately, this model has proven to be costly and results in very low compliance. An evidence-based approach to law reform, supporting improved human, legal, industrial and health rights for Tasmanian sex workers is in fact a decriminalised model.
This means the removal of all criminal laws relating to the operation of the sex industry.
Rather than a decriminalised sex industry being an unregulated industry, it falls under existing laws and sex industry businesses are regulated in the same way as other businesses.
If the sex industry in Tasmania was fully decriminalised it would be more open to scrutiny, as it would be more accessible to service providers and regulatory bodies.
This would provide more choices for sex workers and be more accountable to sex workers.
Penelope (not her real name), a sex worker:
I want the option of working in a brothel. I want the government to tell the community that sex workers are not separate from the community.
I am part of the community and am not a special case needing to be protected from society, nor have society protected from me.
Sometimes I want to work privately, but I work a nine-to-five job and there are times when I simply want to go and do a shift in a brothel without having the added burden of booking hotel rooms.
I want to know that I can arrive at a brothel, do my job and go home. I enjoy my work and the privileges it affords me. I am an adult and am sick of being judged.
Mark Brown, Australian Christian Lobby
Last year a legal escort agency in Sydney advertised four days with a virgin 19-year-old girl for $15,000.
The manager, when confronted after much public outcry, said that this was common practice in brothels and that he had interested men lined up.
Generally, the younger and less experienced a girl, the higher the demand and price.
How can we condone treating vulnerable young people, often desperate for money, as merchandise for self-gratification?
Condoning is what we do when we go down the road of legalising or decriminalising prostitution.
Only a Swedish-style model of criminalising men will safeguard girls from such exploitation.
Roscoe Taylor, director of Public Health:
History shows the sex industry will exist, whether it's legal or not. So the public health question isn't `is that right', it's `how can we make it safe'?
While every Australian has the right to work in a safe environment, this isn't afforded to women and men who work in Tasmania's legal sex industry.
In fact, the law says they must work in isolation, and in effect aren't allowed to have anyone acting in a paid security role.
This places workers, some of whom may already be vulnerable, at greater risk of harm and in a less supported environment to insist on safe sex.
Through law reform, we can improve the safety of workers and their clients, as well as their access to support (including exit strategies) programs should they need them.