Friday, 10th August, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby said it supported the Queensland Attorney-General’s decision to investigate a ruling made against a Queensland motel that it breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by denying a ‘sex worker’ a room but highlighted need for prostitution reform in the state.

“The issue raises the rights of businesses and motels across the state to decide what occurs on their premise,” Queensland State Director Wendy Francis said.

But Ms Francis said the broader issue was the Queensland Government’s decision in 1999 to give brothels and individual licenses and therefore legitimise prostitution and the term “sex worker”.

“As a result of licensing prostitution as an industry, it’s normalised what is an inherently dangerous occupation and equated it with any other work – as exemplified in this case in Moranbah.

“However, no 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,[i]” Ms Francis said.

Ms Francis said the Australian Christian Lobby has been campaigning across all states in territories for government to consider a different approach to prostitution by following Sweden’s lead when it criminalised the purchase of sex in 1999.

“Criminalising the purchase of sex targets the demand rather than supply and after Sweden’s government introduced laws the country noted that trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation decreased,” she said.

[1] Farley, Melissa et al. 2003. “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” Journal of Trauma Practice, Vol. 2, No. 3/4: 33-74; and Farley, Melissa. ed. 2003. Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress. Haworth Press, New York.