Friday, June 8, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby said recognising the sex industry in the ACT as a legitimate occupation is not the solution to eliminating sex slavery, organised crime and human trafficking.

ACL’s spokesperson on prostitution and human trafficking Michelle Pearse said the government’s response to the committee report into the operation of the Prostitution Act 1992 was a missed opportunity for reform to protect women.

“This is the same sex industry where the death of 17-year-old Janine Cameron occurred after overdosing on drugs in a legal brothel. And it’s the same sex industry that the government has admitted to include sex slavery, organised crime and human trafficking,” Ms Pearse said.

“Of course the government wishes to stamp out these less savoury components of the industry to give it the legitimacy it so called deserves, but what other legitimate occupation includes the regular threat of sex slavery, rape, violence, disease, organised crime and human trafficking?

“In what other industry are 60-75 per cent of the workers raped, 70-95 per cent physically assaulted and 68 per cent sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder in the same range as ‘treatment seeking combat veterans’? These statistics were uncovered in a comprehensive study of prostitution and trafficking in nine countries in the Journal of Trauma Practice.

“Prostitution is not a legitimate occupation, it is a harmful occupation. The voices of the ‘empowered’ prostitutes ignores the realty of the sex trade for the less empowered, vulnerable, trapped and damaged women,” she said.

Ms Pearse said the ACL was disappointment with the recommendations the ACT Legislative Assembly Inquiry into the Prostitution Act 1992 handed down in February this year.

The ACL had given evidence at the inquiry recommending a Swedish policy approach to prostitution which puts women out of reach of the police and instead punishes men who buy women for sex.

“Everywhere in the world where the buying of women for sex has been legitimised there has been an explosion of growth in prostitution and the abuse of women in particular that accompanies this, something the Swedes recognised in the late 1990s when they changed their policy,” she said.