Christian Lobby: ACT government feeding demand for trafficked women

Published 24 February 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed amazement that the ACT Legislative Assembly Inquiry into the Prostitution Act 1992 has recommended more prostitution despite the inquiry being triggered by the tragic death of a minor in a legal brothel.

"This inquiry should have recommended a wholesale overhaul of Government policy towards prostitution. Instead it has whitewashed the current failed system and inexplicably recommended less controls in allowing prostitution to expand from Fyshwick into Canberra's residential suburbs," ACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace said.

"Despite being presented with evidence of the success of the Swedish policy approach to prostitution which has now also been adopted in Norway, Iceland and Korea – and is under consideration in France and Israel – the majority report gave no plausible reason for not considering it," he said.

Mr Wallace said the 'Swedish model' puts prostituted women out of the reach of the police and instead punishes men who buy women for sex.

"Everywhere in the world where the buying of women for sex has been legitimised there has been an explosion of growth in prostitution and the abuse of women in particular that accompanies this, something the Swedes recognised in the late 1990s when they changed their policy.

"The legal sex trade in Western countries is feeding demand for women who can't be supplied locally and this is causing a global boom in sex trafficking," Mr Wallace said.

"It is naive to think women are not trafficked from time to time into the ACT.

Mr Wallace praised Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne for her dissenting report but said it was inexplicable that the committee could recommend the expansion of an 'industry' that no amount of regulation can make safe.

"It is wrong for the ACT Assembly to normalise what is an inherently dangerous occupation and to put it on the same level as selling fries at McDonalds."

Mr Wallace said ACL was hosting the screening of the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls which investigates the global sex trade and its links to legal brothels in the West.

ACT Legislative Assembly members have been invited to a private screening but the public can view it this Monday night at Parkway Church Kambah from 7pm.

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