For release: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today presented evidence linking legalised prostitution and sex trafficking to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

The Human Rights Sub-Committee is holding an Inquiry into Slavery, Slavery like conditions and People Trafficking in Australia.

ACL’s chief of Staff Lyle Shelton and Research Officer Daniel Simon argued that the existence of legal prostitution heightened demand for prostituted women and fostered an environment in which illegal prostitution and sex trafficking flourished.

Mr Shelton said there was evidence of sex trafficking into legal and illegal brothels making Australia a favoured market for traffickers.

A 2012 University of Goettingen study of 150 nations ranked Australia as a high volume destination country for trafficking, particularly of women from Southeast Asia.

In 2004 the UK Home Office in its landmark study of global prostitution regulation noted that “Victoria and New South Wales were the two worst states for the abuse of children through prostitution. The trafficking of East Asian women for the purpose of prostitution was also found to be a growing problem.”

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency recently arrested 18 Korean pimps involved in the trafficking of Korean women into Australia.

As part of Australia’s efforts to reduce this problem, ACL recommended the Joint Select Committee consider the Nordic approach to prostitution, which criminalises the purchase of sex.

Under Swedish law, prostituted women are not criminally liable; it is the purchaser of sex who is committing the crime.

ACL presented evidence showing that the Nordic approach had made Sweden an unfavourable destination for traffickers of women.

“ACL submits that we cannot seriously tackle sex slavery into Australia until we join the dots between the legalisation of brothels and the demand this creates for trafficked women,” Mr Shelton said.

“We respectfully submit that pressure has to be put on State Governments to consider the Nordic policy approach in order to begin to address the scourge of sex slavery.”

Click here to read ACL's submission.