I’m writing today’s blog from Darwin where the government is considering the legalisation of brothels.
With mining and resources industries creating a fly-in-fly out workforce, the government is grappling with what to do about 10,000 supposedly unattached males with high disposable incomes.
The idea that a policy response might be to say yes to the entitlement mentality of men to women’s bodies is something ACL and our supporters here are challenging.
This entitlement mentality has also been challenged overseas where countries such as Sweden do not allow men to buy women for sex.
It has been so successful in reducing the harm to women and the trafficking of women that many countries have now adopted the so-called Nordic model which criminalises the purchaser.
ACL supporters will recall that Wendy Francis recently travelled to Sweden with an Australian delegation to speak with government and police officials about the success of this policy.
The latest country to adopt a version of it is Canada which only this week tabled similar legislation, recognising that prostitution is an inherently dangerous occupation.
So why have so many Australian states legalised brothels and sanctioned the purchase of women?
The sex trade here is an influential lobby whose assumptions about prostitution being a relatively harmless profession that only needs regulating by the government have taken root in the minds of some, particularly in the media.
Unfortunately the result of legalising brothels in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory has been more harm to women and an increase in the trafficking of women.
We were told a tightly regulated industry would deal with the harm and the criminality associated with prostitution but an increase in this has been the result, as ACL has demonstrated in many unchallenged submissions to parliamentary inquiries.
It is time to stop thinking about prostitution policy as a way of providing young women so they can be an outlet for the desires of men.
We are here in Darwin this week asking Northern Territory Parliamentarians to be bold enough to help us as a nation make this cultural shift.
A government discussion paper with recommendations is due to be released in coming months.
All Australians who are concerned for the dignity of women have an interest in how this unfolds.
In the meantime let’s be prayerful and active in the debate.