For release: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that Australia will fund $50 million in an effort to reduce the trafficking of people in Asia, but remains concerned that it is not doing enough to combat the sex trafficking problem in Australia.

Yesterday, ACL presented evidence linking legalised prostitution and sex trafficking to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

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.

ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace welcomed Ms Gillard’s decision, but says more needs to be done, given the link between legalised prostitution in Australia and sex trafficking in Asia.

“The government has done a good thing in acknowledging the need to fight the slave trade in Asia, but I encourage Ms Gillard to look at the problem we have in our own backyard.

“Australia continues to be an identified destination for sex trafficking,[1] especially of young girls from Southeast Asia. As long as we continue to allow legalised prostitution, we will never see this issue disappear.

“As part of Australia’s efforts to reduce this problem, ACL has continually recommended that State Governments consider the Nordic approach to prostitution, which criminalises the purchase of sex. This method has made Sweden an unfavourable destination for traffickers of women,”[2] Mr Wallace said.

“The Federal Government must raise this at COAG if it is serious about reducing sex trafficking in Asia.”


[1] US Department of State (June 2012), Trafficking in Persons Report,, p 73.