Labor for sexual capitalism?

The NSW parliament has recently passed legislation directed against ‘illegal brothels’. However sex workers organisations complain that it could led to action being taken against sex workers who work from home. The Bill (text here) provides that a premise may be a brothel even if used by only one worker, and it expedites the process of obtaining court orders and empowers utilities to cut off supplies. Labor governments have supported legislation of prostitution and this has often been presented as a progressive and libertarian policy. But in the modern west we see the emergence of new forms of ‘governing at a distance’ as Foucault argued in his essay on governmentality. Corruption and the public presence of sex workers is embarrassing to governments, brothel legislation aims to address these issues not to empower workers. It is like ‘aboriginal self-determination’ (or Palestinian autonomy) often in practice a way of ‘solving’ a problem, and creating new forms of control. An interesting discussion from a post-structuralist perspective here. From a Marxist perspective the legislation is a form of proleterianisation denying workers access to the means of production and assists private capitalists. Sex worker organisations have argued the NSW legislation favours larger brothels by reducing the work opportunities for sole sex workers. See more here.

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