If the NSW Government wants to tackle the state’s human trafficking problem, it must seriously consider banning the purchase of sex.

That was the message from ACL’s David Hutt and Daniel Simon as they appeared before the Community Relations Commission’s inquiry into human trafficking and the exploitation of women in Sydney on Wednesday, December 19.

NSW Director David Hutt told the inquiry that prostitution was an industry that exploited women and was driving a demand for trafficked women.

Daniel Simon, ACL’s Research Officer, spoke to the inquiry about the successful approach adopted by Sweden and a growing list of countries that prohibits the purchasing of sex.

New South Wales is the only state in Australia where prostitution operates on a decriminalised model. The government is currently considering establishing a brothel licensing regime.

ACL argued that research from around the world had shown that introducing brothel licensing would not stem the tide of women being trafficked in Sydney.

The inquiry was established after reports the government of South Korea believes there to be as many as one thousand Korean women trafficked in Australia at any given moment.

Human trafficking and the slave trade is the equal second largest criminal industry in the world – tied with the illegal arms trade. Both the United Nations and the US State Department have identified Australia as a destination for human trafficking.