Last week ACL made a submission to the South Australian Parliament’s Select Committee on the Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015. Inquiries such as these allow ACL take an active role in policy debate.

The South Australian Bill seeks to decriminalise all forms of prostitution. If enacted it would see South Australia follow the same path as NSW with the predictable consequence of seeing prostitution grow in the State. In addition it would grant “sex workers” a privileged status under anti-discrimination law, a status not afforded to any other occupation.

Prostitution is an inherently dangerous and harmful industry. Recognition of the links between organised crime and human trafficking should be given more attention. ACL outlined in its submission how decriminalisation of prostitution has failed in other jurisdictions. NSW has been experiencing significant issues with prostitution following many years of decriminalisation and is currently conducting an inquiry into serious and widespread problems with the regulation of brothels by NSW councils.

ACL argued that South Australia should adopt the successful “Nordic Model” that has been in place in Sweden for more than ten years. The Nordic Model targets the demand for prostitution by criminalising the purchase of sex. Prostitutes are not targeted by the law, recognising the failure of targeting what are often vulnerable, exploited women.  Sweden’s policy has seen a reduction of up to 50% street prostitution according to Swedish government reports.