Newly proposed prostitution reforms
announced by the Attorney General Christian Porter do not go far enough in addressing community safety, according to the Australian Christian Lobby’s WA Director Michelle Pearse.
“The proposed laws will ban prostitution from residential areas and give Police expanded powers to shut down illegal brothels, but we are concerned that by allowing brothels to operate, demand for prostituted women will continue to rise,” Ms Pearse said.
“There is already a great demand for prostituted women and this is why we have a growing number of sex workers coming in from Asia. As long as there is a legal industry, men will continue to assume the right to exploit women by purchasing them for sex,” Ms Pearse said.
Research from the University of Queensland estimates that 90% of the brothels in Queensland are still illegal, even after the Government set up the Prostitution Licensing Authority to regulate the industry.
“I question why our Government wants to follow the failed Queensland model which proves that it is impossible to regulate brothels,” Ms Pearse said. “The continuing growth of the illegal sector puts community safety at risk.”
Ms Pearse questioned if the Attorney General had considered the safety of the women who are exploited in this industry.
“Research shows that many women in prostitution are raped, physically assaulted and threatened, and one study showed that 68% of prostituted women suffered post traumatic stress disorder”.
Ms Pearse also said that the growing demand for prostituted women has naturally led to a massive growth in human trafficking for sexual purposes including the exploitation of children in the sex industry.
“Countries across the world are passing laws and considering ways of tackling the demand for prostitution. Sweden criminalised the purchase of sex in 1999, which has resulted in a massive reduction of the industry and reduction of human trafficking.”
The Australian Christian Lobby wants the state Government to expand the proposed reforms to criminalise the purchase of sex everywhere so that men are not encouraged to exploit women.
“Community safety will only be achieved when the Government recognises that prostitution is exploitation and seeks the safety of those in prostitution as well as the wider community.”