For release: 17 August, 2011

Documentary exposing global sex trade to screen in WA

A documentary exposing the global sex trade will screen to a sell-out crowd tonight in Perth, Western Australia.

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is part of a trilogy series directed by American abolitionist Benjamin Nolot and tonight’s benefit screening is part of an Australian tour.

More than 750 people have booked tickets to see the documentary which airs at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Booragoon and was organised by the New Life Christian Community Church in Fremantle together with the Australian Christian Lobby.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Western Australian Director Michelle Pearse says it’s timely the documentary has come to the state as the WA Government recently tabled the 2011 Draft Prostitution Bill.

“The Draft Prostitution Bill is concerning because although it seeks to rid brothels and prostitution from suburbs, there will still be some legal brothels allowed to operate in ‘safe’ and ‘healthy’ ways outside of suburbs,” she said.

“However, we know that experience from around the world and from other States in Australia show legal brothels leads to a culture of acceptance of prostitution which in turn leads to more buyers and therefore more demand for trafficked women,” she said.

Ms Pearse said several MPs from across the party divide attended a private screening at Parliament House yesterday and she hoped they gained a new appreciation of the harms associated with legalising brothels.

“Even women who are not trafficked still suffer abuse and exploitation in brothels.  It’s a physically and psychologically dangerous work that should not be encouraged by laws which sanction the idea of men buying women. Legalisation of brothels in the eastern States has not made women safe from exploitation,” Ms Pearce said.

Mr Nolot said during his journey to 19 countries producing the film there was clear evidence that introducing a model like Sweden, where the purchase of sex is criminalised, really had a positive impact on society.

 “Sweden really emerges as sort of a beacon of hope for us because it was a country where we'd seen the impact of effective legislation to not only shut down prostitution but to shut down trafficking, because the two are always going hand in hand,” he said.