What has the WA Government proposed?
The WA Attorney-General Christian Porter has introduced a bill to parliament to ban prostitution from residential areas and license them to operate in other locations. Although motivated by good intentions to remove prostitution from the suburbs, this approach has failed in other states of Australia. Mr Porter’s plan to license brothels in certain areas will mean that women will continue to be ‘legally exploited’ through the sex trade. Write to your local member of Parliament today to state your opposition to this plan.
What’s wrong with the idea?
In Queensland, the State Government had a similar plan to license and regulate the sex trade, but after ten years they have only managed to regulate 10% of it whilst 90% remains illegal. As long as there is a demand for prostituted women, the trade will continue to grow beyond the boundaries of the legal sector. The US Department of State says that human trafficking for sexual purposes is driven by the demand for prostituted women, and as long as states allow this demand to grow, human trafficking will continue to be a problem.
States across Australia that have decriminalised or legalised prostitution have also seen a massive expansion of illegal brothels and even though the WA Government will say that they are not following these models, the bottom line is that as long as there is a demand for prostitution, the illegal sector will continue to grow.
Legalising brothels has always led to an increase of the illegal sex trade. This means that recent cases such as the death of 17 year old girl by drug overdose in a legal brothel in the ACT, the trafficking of women for prostitution purposes from China to Melbourne and Sydney, and sex slaves being held in Canberra will only become more common.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes! The ‘Swedish model’ offers a much better method of controlling prostitution. By recognising prostitution as sexual exploitation and making it an offence to buy sex, Sweden reduced the number of women involved in prostitution, and reduced the number of men purchasing street based prostitution by 80%. The number of women trafficked into Sweden is just 400 compared to nearly 17,000 in neighbouring Finland. This is a much, much better approach, which really does help women and provide clarity to the police.
Rather than legalising brothels, the WA Government should be providing greater support for women so they are not forced into prostitution in the first place. It should also provide exit strategies for those women who are desperate to start a better life.
What can I do?
Letters make a big difference! MPs are eager to know what their constituents are thinking on the relevant issues. Use the form below to send a quick email message to your local member.