The Tasmanian Labor Party is to be commended for seeking to protect women through reforms to prostitution at its State Conference next month.
However, decriminalising brothels, as proposed by Tasmanian Young Labor, has already proven to be a failure in other states, warns Australian Christian Lobby Tasmanian Director, Mark Brown.
Mr Brown said the State Conference would be a lost opportunity if the participants do not consider the successful model of protecting women offered by the Nordic approach.
The Nordic approach which is now adopted in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada and Northern Ireland has proven to protect women and reduce human trafficking by criminalising the purchase of a woman for sex. This approach has clearly surpassed the failed experiment to legalise brothels.
Mr Brown said it would be disappointing if the Labor Party were only to consider decriminalising brothels, as indicated in reports today.
“The motion proposed by Tasmanian Young Labor to decriminalise brothels, while well intentioned, is ill-conceived,” Mr Brown said.
“There are many examples around the world and Australia which show that legalising brothels is a failed experiment from yesteryear and does nothing to protect the safety of women or to reduce the number of women who are exploited for sex.
“Tasmanians only need to look to Queensland where after 17 years of legalised brothels, illegal prostitution continues to flourish and women continue to be exploited and trafficked.”
The Queensland regulatory body, the Prostitution Licensing Authority, recently acknowledged that legalising prostitution, billed as the answer to curtailing uncontrolled prostitution run by criminal gangs and pimps, has failed.
“The Labor Party should be looking to adopt the world’s best practice.
“Feminist groups have advocated for the Nordic approach because they recognise that prostitution is an issue of gender inequality and targets the men and pimps who exploit women.”