The South Australian Parliament has been urged to adopt the “Nordic approach” to prostitution, as Ireland joins a growing list of countries committed to implementing this approach in order to eliminate human trafficking and respect women.

South Australian Upper House MLC Michelle Lensink, who introduced a bill to decriminalise prostitution in 2015, has signalled she will seek to further the legislation, which has been before a parliamentary committee, in the first half of this year.

The Nordic approach targets the demand for prostitution by outlawing the purchase of sex without criminalising the prostituted women.

“The current bill before the Parliament is flawed because it seeks to decriminalise prostitution. In Queensland and Victoria where decriminalisation has already occurred, both the legal and illegal prostitution trade has boomed,” Australian Christian Lobby spokesperson for the dignity of women, Wendy Francis said.

 “South Australia has an opportunity to lead the nation in implementing this progressive legislation, giving dignity to every human being and sending a message of hope to women that they are no longer able to be bought and sold.

“Jurisdictions that use the Nordic approach now have a track record of successfully reducing the number of women caught in prostitution, which can easily be applied to the Australian situation.

“The ACL believes in the human dignity of every human being. For this reason, we oppose the purchase of anyone for sex and support the Nordic model of prostitution legislation which campaigns for the dignity of women who are the ones most affected by prostitution and sex trafficking. 

“Sweden was the first country to legally recognise prostitution as a form of discrimination against women, and have been followed by Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland and France. 

“The South Australian Parliament has an obligation to end the trafficking of women for sex and to send a clear message that women are not commodities to be bought and traded - the Nordic approach sends such a message.”