Media Release

Another Nation-first from SA: Exit Strategies for Women in Prostitution   

On Wednesday evening this week, the Hon Nicola Centofanti MLC introduced a Bill in the South Australian Legislative Council designed to offer comprehensive exit strategies for individuals engaged in prostitution, granting those who seek to exit the sex trade immunity from existing criminal provisions.  

This Bill is the first of its kind to be proposed in Australia and follows Centofanti’s attempt to introduce the ‘Nordic’ model in South Australia, which would have also criminalised the purchase of commercial sex – voted down by a single vote on May 1.   

Centofanti highlighted, “one of, if not the, most important aspects of the Bill was the comprehensive and strategic exit strategies provided to those who wish to leave the industry”.  

Ashlyn Vice, South Australian State Director for the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), stated, “Rather than removing criminal provisions, this Bill offers amnesty in compassionate circumstances and requires the Government to provide practical support to vulnerable people seeking to exit the sex trade – such as education and training services, assistance in finding accommodation and/or employment, and assistance in accessing health or legal services.”  

“In doing so this Bill addresses a gap in the traditional criminalisation approach to prostitution. Research indicates almost 90% of people engaged in prostitution do not want to be there, but lack real options to exit”  

Miss Vice continued, “The ACL offers its full support to the amendments proposed by the Hon Nicola Centofanti MLC. While we were disappointed the full Nordic approach was not supported in the Legislative Council, we endorse this Bill on its own merits as a means of offering real help to a largely exploited population.”  

One of the most extensive research papers on prostitution to date, involving 854 people in 9 different countries, found 89% wanted to escape prostitution but lacked other options for survival. (Farley et al, “Prostitution in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder’  Journal of Trauma Practice 2004, 2 (3-4) 33-74) 

The ACL was involved in a successful campaign against full decriminalisation of prostitution in 2019 and supports the Nordic or ‘Equality’ approach to reduce demand for prostitution.   

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