The Australian Christian Lobby has warned that the Queensland government has this week opened the way for more harm to women through prostitution.

During an inquiry into granting authorities new powers to enter brothels, Newscorp reported overnight that the Palaszczuk government shelved the plan, instead tasking the Queensland Law Reform Commission with investigating prostitution reform. Whilst the quotes attributed to the Police Minister overnight indicated the question of 'regulation' would be examined, comments almost 1 year ago made it clear that the Labor Party's preferred direction was towards decriminalisation.

"As I said 6 years ago, working in prostitution isn't like working at Maccas," ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis said, "Prostitution is not a job. The inside of a woman’s body is not a workplace. Prostitution is inherently abusive, and a cause and a consequence of women’s inequality. There is no way to make it safe."

"Any government that allows the decriminalisation of pimping and sex-buying sends a message to its citizens that women are vessels for male sexual consumption."

Mrs Francis highlighted experience from other jurisdictions - such as NSW - showing that the claimed enforcement regime often falls a long way short of what is promised during decriminalisation debates. "Full decriminalisation of NSW’s sex industry has left police and authorities with hardly any ability to monitor the sex industry or intervene in its businesses - despite trafficking, child exploitation, violence, drugs and organised crime being common. Just this week a Sydney council declined to shut down a brothel at the centre of a drug raid, despite previously fighting to stop other brothels in the council area," Mrs Francis said.

"Decriminalisation of the sex trade benefits pimps and brothel-owners, not women," Mrs Francis concluded, "Decriminalisation means allowing pimping, sex-buying and brothel-owning. And this is not the way forward – unless we want to make it easier for the men who run the global sex trade to make more money out of women’s bodies."

The ACL has consistently called for prostitution reform to adopt the Nordic model, which enables women to exit the prostitution industry. The model shifts the criminalised element to the buying of sex, not the selling of sex by prostitutes. The model has significantly reduced prostitution harm in the nations where it has been adopted, including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland, France, Ireland. Israel most recently adopted the reforms, coming into force in 2020.

ENDS

Media contact: Rikki Lambert – 0439844710