Media release

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

State government laws endorsing prostitution and brothels are being used by human traffickers to entice young Asian women into the trade, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

At a time where Nordic countries were successfully combating human trafficking through laws which criminalise the purchase of sex, Australia’s policies were helping the traffickers, ACL’s Western Australian Director Rhys Vallance said.

The ACL has today called for federal, state and territory governments to address the causes and ‘pull factors’ of human trafficking following reports that 18 pimps have been arrested in Korea for trafficking women to Australia.

“Australia has been identified by the United Nations and the US State Department as a target destination for human trafficking,” Mr Vallance said.

“These arrests in Korea show that recent attempts to ‘regulate’ prostitution in Australia have failed to curb the ‘demand’ for trafficked women in Australia.

“They show the dangers of legalising prostitution as is currently being considered by the Western Australian government.

“Human trafficking is the second largest illegal industry in the world. Our governments have to do more to stop this abuse of women.

“Sex slavery flourishes where prostitution is endorsed by the state. It is time our state governments recognise that legalised prostitution is a failed experiment that only increases the demand for trafficked women,” Mr Vallance said.

“Australian governments need to implement the successful approach pioneered by Sweden and adopted by a growing number of countries including Korea, Israel, Norway and Iceland.”

The ‘Nordic approach’ prohibits the purchasing of sex and offers pathways out of prostitution for women caught in the trade.

Facts about human trafficking:

·         June 2012 – the US State Department identified Australia as a destination country for trafficked persons.

·         April 2012 – Watcharaporn Nantanhkum become the first person convicted of slavery in the Australian Capital Territory for holding a woman in sex-servitude.

·         February 2012 – Federal Police and the Salvation Army rescue three trafficked, Thai girls from a legal, Western Sydney brothel.


Media Contact: Ben Williams on 0408 018 765.