For release: Saturday April 2, 2011

Today’s report that the Tasmanian Labor Government’s Attorney General David Bartlett does not favour legal brothels because they increase demand for prostituted women and don’t protect the vulnerable shows political leaders are waking up to the failure of normalising the sex trade in other States.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s spokesperson for human trafficking Michelle Pearse said wherever in the world, including numerous Australian States, brothels had been legalised illegal prostitution had also flourished.

“The only policy approach that has reduced demand for prostituted women has been the Swedish model which has now been taken up by Norway, Iceland and South Korea – countries which have had serious problems with human trafficking,” Ms Pearse said.

“The Swedish model does not make it a crime for a woman to be a prostitute but it does criminalise men for buying a woman for sex.

“This has dramatically reduced demand for prostituted women in Sweden with street prostitution falling by 80pc and trafficking of women to just 400 compared to 1700 in neighbouring Finland.”

Mr Bartlett told The Launceston Examiner: "...if we want to reduce demand for the sex industry in Tasmania ... a proliferation of legal brothels I don't think achieves that."

Ms Pearse said police investigations in Melbourne into a trafficking ring run from legal brothels, the death of a 17 year old girl from a drug overdose in a legal brothel in Canberra and the fact that after 10 years of regulated brothels in Queensland 90pc of the sex trade remained in the illegal sector showed legalisation had been a failure.

It was ironic that despite national and international evidence that legal brothels only compound the harm of prostitution, some State Governments such as the WA Government were still considering legal brothels.

“Women will continue to be harmed and trafficked until State Governments begin to address the demand side by cracking down on men instead of women who are the victims of what is an inherently exploitative and unequal industry.”

Contact: Katherine Spackman on 0408 875 979