MEDIA RELEASE

The conviction of a Sydney brothel owner for holding young Malaysian students in sex servitude demonstrates the need for tougher measures to combat human trafficking, the Australian Christian Lobby said.



ACL said the New South Wales Government's proposed brothel-licensing regime would not work and that the government needed to tackle the demand for prostituted and trafficked women if it was serious about ending human trafficking.



"Many people would find it hard to believe that in the 21st century girls in New South Wales are forced to work in sex slavery for up to 20 hours a day to pay off a $5,000 debt," ACL Human Trafficking spokesperson Wendy Francis said.



“The conviction of Chee Mei Wong’s has highlighted the ugly and brutal reality of human trafficking and the sex-slave trade.



“This is a scourge that cannot be ignored and the New South Wales Government needs to act urgently to tackle this problem,” she said.



ACL called on the New South Wales Government to adopt the successful approach pioneered in Sweden, implemented now by a growing list of countries, and prosecute the purchase of sex.



“New South Wales needs a brand new approach in dealing with these problems. Studies of the Swedish approach have shown the progress that can be made by criminalising the purchase of sex,” Ms Francis said.



ACL also called for local councils to be given the power to prohibit the establishment of brothels within its local government area.



Ms Francis said it was important to give local decision makers the power to reflect the concerns and wishes of their communities.