Media Release

June 21, 2010

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is not satisfied the Barnett Government has met its election commitment to properly investigate the Swedish model of prostitution regulation, ACL WA Director Michelle Pearse said today.

With the Attorney General Christian Porter announcing today that brothels would be legalised in industrial and commercial areas, Mrs Pearse said Mr Porter must explain how State-sanctioned brothels could meet the most basic workplace health and safety standards.

“How would he protect young women from being recruited into the most dangerous profession on the planet?” Mrs Pease said. “WA is about to follow the failed experiments by Labor Governments in Queensland, the ACT and Victoria where legalised brothels have led to a massive expansion of the harmful sex trade in both its legal and illegal forms.”

Mrs Pearse said that recently an under-age girl died in a legal brothel in the ACT which underscored the implausibility of making work in brothels safe. “ACL opposes legalising brothels because of the dangers to young women and believes the law should target the demand side of the sex trade which is the men who use prostituted women,” she said.

Mrs Pearse said that a report by the US Bureau of Public Affairs cited a study into the trauma prostituted women face and revealed that 60-75% of women in prostitution were raped, 70-95% were physically assaulted and 68% had post traumatic stress disorder in the same range as ‘treatment seeking combat veterans’. “Why would the WA Government sanction an industry where this occurs?”

The Federal Government has just launched a marketing campaign aimed at reducing violence in relationships. Mrs Pearse is asking the WA Government: “If Australia says ‘No’ to violence against women than why would the Government seek to sanction brothels where women are raped and assaulted? If the WA Government was truly seeking the best interests of the community, than they would not allow prostitution to occur in any area.”

At a public meeting arranged by federal member for Swan, Steve Irons, the Attorney General stated that he believed prostitution was ‘morally objectionable’. Mrs Pearse is questioning the rationale of the government in legalising an industry that is ‘morally objectionable’. “The reason that prostitution is morally objectionable is because it is an injustice to the women involved, and it is an injustice to the wives and families of the men who use prostituted women.”

Instead of legalising the industry, ACL is calling on the government to shut down all brothels and implement a law similar to Sweden’s, which penalises the buyer rather than the women who are exploited in the industry.