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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Improving the health of sex workers in NSW: maintaining success Volume 21 Issue 3-4

Basil Donovan, Christine Harcourt, Sandra Egger, Christopher K. Fairley

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 21(4) 74–77 Published online: 27 May 2010

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About the author/s

Basil Donovan

Christine Harcourt

Sandra Egger

Christopher K. Fairley


NSW has a diverse sex industry that is limited in its size by modest demand. There is no evidence that decriminalisation in 1995 increased the frequency of commercial sex in NSW. Though the largest sector, female brothels, is now mainly staffed by Asian women, condom use for vaginal and anal sex exceeds 99% and sexually transmissible infection rates are at historic lows. These gains are attributable to the long-term support of the NSW Department of Health in collaboration with the community-based Sex Workers Outreach Project and sexual health services, facilitated by the removal of criminal sanctions without the expense and access barriers of licensing systems.