A consortium of Australian organisations fighting against sexual exploitation has called for an overhaul of the classification and advertising standards at the inaugural Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation.
Held in Brisbane May 5-6, the Summit was attended by more than a dozen groups including the ACL, Women’s Forum Australia, Collective Shout and Porn Harms Kids, who were determined to end the widespread sexual exploitation of children and women.
Summit organiser and ACL spokesperson for women and children, Wendy Francis, said the group believed ensuring the classification and advertising standards upheld community expectations would be one way in combatting sexual exploitation.
“The self-regulatory system of the Advertising Standards Board has failed the community for too long as it clearly has no power to penalise advertisers who breach their code,” Ms Francis said.
“For this reason, the summit delegates have called on the Federal Government to direct the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) to amend both their Code of Ethics and Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children,” Ms Francis said.
“The codes must include the principle that decisions in regards to advertising must be made in the best interest of the children.”
“The Summit is calling on the Federal Government to conduct a full government review and to introduce appropriate penalties for advertisers who refuse to comply.”
The Summit also called for an expert panel to investigate the public health effects and societal harm of pornography to both children and adults.
In addition, a call was made for a Royal Commission into the dysfunction of the family law system in Australia.
In an effort to combat sex trafficking and prostitution, the Summit cemented support behind the Nordic Approach to prostitution which has garnered support across the globe and penalises those that pimp or purchase sex.
“The Nordic Approach takes an abolitionist approach to prostitution and trafficking, refusing to accept that booming markets for prostitution and sex trafficking are desirable or inevitable,” Ms Francis said.
Ms Francis said the delegates would continue to collaboratively lobby for change so that sexual exploitation, in all its forms, could be stopped in Australia.
“Any political party which ignores the growing call for action will find, in upcoming elections, that they are up against an organised and determined collaborative of organisations working in this space, who in turn represent hundreds of thousands of voters in every electorate around our nation,” Ms Francis said.
The full text of the four resolutions:
Pornography has created a national health crisis which demands a societal response.
Delegates from the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation held in Brisbane on Saturday 6th May 2017, call upon the Federal Government to recognise that pornography is a public health hazard which leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms; and that there is a need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming our nation. Steps to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, to educate individuals and families concerning its harms, and to develop recovery programs must be addressed systemically in ways that hold broader influences accountable. We ask that an expert panel be appointed to investigate the public health effects and societal harms of pornography to both children and adults, and to make policy recommendations to Parliament.
We call on the Federal Government to conduct a full review of the classification system and the self-regulatory system of the Advertising Standards Board.
The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has no power to penalise advertisers who breach their code. Neither can they penalise advertisers who disregard a determination and fail to remove offending advertisements. Given the failure of the current self-regulatory system to meet community expectations specifically in the areas of advertising to children and the portrayal of women, the delegates of the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation call on our Federal Government -
to direct the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) to amend both their Code of Ethics and Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children to include a principle that decisions in regards to advertising must be made in the best interests of children; and conduct a full government review of the current classification and self-regulatory system, and introduce appropriate penalties for organisations/advertisers who refuse to comply.
We call on the Federal Government to conduct a Royal Commission into the dysfunction of the Family Law Systems of Australia.
Following a report by Bravehearts, “Abbey’s Project”, highlighting failings within the Family Court System, including sending children to live with convicted sex offenders, the below delegates from the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation call upon the Federal Government to conduct a Royal Commission into the dysfunction of the Family Law Systems of Australia.
We call on our Government to adopt the Nordic Model of prostitution legislation.
The Nordic Model takes an abolitionist approach to prostitution and trafficking, refusing to accept that booming markets for prostitution and sex trafficking are desirable or inevitable. The Nordic Model comes from an understanding that prostitution and sex trafficking are harmful to prostituted and trafficked persons, as well as barriers to social justice. Australia signed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially women and children (known as the ‘Palermo Protocol’) in 2005. This obliges us to: Adopt or strengthen legislative or other measures, such as educational, social or cultural measures, including through bilateral and multilateral co-operation, to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, that lead to trafficking (UNOHCHR, 2013).
As advocates for social and cultural change, the delegates of the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation call on our Government to deliver on these international obligations, as well as our social obligation to protect the vulnerable, and work towards implementing the Nordic model of legislation for our policies relating to prostitution, both at Federal and State levels.
The organisations at the summit included:
Brisbane Feminist Collective
Fighting for Justice Foundation -
JAM - Justice and Mercy
Pink Cross Foundation Australia
Porn Harms Kids
QAK - Queensland Alliance for Kids
Salvos Brothel Outreach Teams
Stop the Traffik
Women’s Forum Australia
Youth Wellbeing Project