ACL's MD Jim Wallace had an opinion piece published in The Daily Telegraph November 9, 2011 about the Sydney Escort agency selling a 19-year-old virgin. It was entitled "Virginity sale shows state of morality".

THE revelation that a Sydney escort agency is offering for sale a virgin should provide a reality check on the state of morality in our society.

The girl is a Chinese Sydney University student, and the blurred image offered to entice customers hardly disguises her sense of shame and should evince a desire for compassion not sexual exploitation.

Almost surely she is a virgin at 19 because of being raised on conservative cultural and family values, and the guilt of betrayal of them for money screams from the picture.

But we have arrived here because of a failure to draw moral lines in the sand and protect them, or more particularly to demand political leaders who are prepared to do it.

One of the most basic requirements of leadership, the need to maintain and model moral and ethical standards, has been long sacrificed as a requirement of public leaders.

Instead political advantage is the new ethic.

What was supposed to be a necessary part of the process has become its end, and this case well illustrates the dilemma into which ethical compromise has driven us.

Legalising prostitution transgressed a moral boundary.

The sex industry claims that it would allow better oversight of prostitution and eradicate the illegal industry but it is quickly debunked, with illegal brothels now outnumbering the legal ones in Sydney by at least four to one. But we allowed the arguments of a blatantly immoral industry to compromise society’s own moral position on prostitution.

Any claims of slippery slopes in these decisions are inevitably met by cries of moral panic by those standing to profit in these cases, but only the morally blind could deny them.

Not only has the moral compromise on prostitution failed to realise any benefits to society, but it has also lead to the growth of sex trafficking with foreign students and other overseas women enticed to Australia with the promise of education or jobs and then held in sexual slavery.

Whatever the details of this case in regard to the willingness of the girl, it is clearly the exploitation of someone in need, probably feeling isolated, and clearly mainly for the profit of the agency which it has been said might make up to sixty percent of the $15,000 that will be traded in the deal.

Pagan societies sacrificed virgins and publicly sold them in brothels, but the West had embraced a Christian morality that rejected this.

We preserved this morality by leadership from people who not only shared these values to the extent any of us is successful in living them, but saw it as a responsibility of leadership to model and uphold them publicly and in public policy.

Instead today we have a federal government which has negotiated its way into office by denying its most publicly made promise and an opposition that is happy to curry the favour of the wealthy gambling industry, rather than demand on principle it shouldn’t be making five billion dollars a year from problem gamblers.

Political advantage in both cases, the obsession with power, has taken the place of virtue.

It is little wonder that we now have a virgin being publicly raffled.

Jim Wallace is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby