MEDIA RELEASEThursday 26th July, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby said the UN-backed Global Commission on HIV has got it wrong in recommending all laws prohibiting prostitution be removed and decriminalising the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs in order to combat the HIV epidemic.
The ACL’s prostitution spokeswoman Michelle Pearse said the report, HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health
, cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization to recognise prostitution as “sex work” in order for it to be regulated to “protect workers and customers”.
“Of course we want to see the rate of HIV drop but not through the means of recognising prostitution as an occupation. No other legitimate occupation includes the regular threat of sex slavery, rape, violence, disease, organised crime and human trafficking,” she said.
“Where prostitution is legalised or decriminalised there is always greater demand for human trafficking victims,” she said.
She said the United Nations’ Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN Protocol) requires States Parties to “adopt or strengthen legislative or other measures, such as educational, social or cultural measures . . . to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, that leads to trafficking”.[i]
Ms Pearse said the ACL advocated for a Swedish approach when it comes to prostitution reform which prosecutes the purchase of sex and targets the demand.
“After the government introduced laws the country noted that trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation decreased,” she said.
Ms Pearse said the ACL was equally concerned about decriminalising the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs.
“This sends a message that injecting drugs is ok and can be safe. This is not a message we should be sending out. Drug users often become slaves to their addiction.”
United Nations, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime
, Article 9.5.