Voice4Change

Empowering young Australians to be a clear Christian voice

Decriminalisation model not working in New Zealand

WarningFrNZDuring Question Time on 17 July, the Minister for the Status of Women Gail Gago – and sponsor of the Sex Work Reform Bill 2012 – said:

I have looked at a number of legislative and regulatory models, and I have to say that I have been much informed by the New Zealand experience. The NZ Prostitution Reform Act in 2003 decriminalised sex workers, and that was done with an aim to safeguarding the human rights of workers and promoting their welfare and also occupational health and safety.

But news reports from New Zealand paint a picture of failure.

A sleazy, under-age sex trade has been found in Christchurch”

“Police are worried by a rise in underage prostitution in downtown Auckland, where girls as young as 12 are selling themselves for sex

‘Young meat earns a lot of money,’ said Ms Baker. ‘Under-age prostitution has always been a problem, but there is an increase. We are seeing more and more young girls out there.’”

There are also additional problems with the current SA bill to decriminalise brothels. A submission by the Law Society of South Australia which comments on the bill, dated 29 June 2012, states:

Firstly, in relation to section 10(1)(a) of the 2011 bill, we regard 200 metres to be too close in proximity to a children’s facility for a premises to be used for the purposes of sex work. We note that section 29 of the 2012 Bill has retained 200 metres as the prescribed distance from which a premises may be established from a ‘prescribed children’s service’; reduced to 50 metres in the central business district. We regard 50 metres and 200 metres as being too close.

The submission also raised concerns of there being no provision in the 2012 Bill to make it a specific offence for children to be present or living at the premises at any time during the operation of the sex business. The 2012 Bill omits to protect children who may be present or reside in a premise used for sex work.

Folks, prostitution harms: it harms women, men and children. There is no two ways about it. That’s why David Penberthy doesn’t want a brothel in his backyard. If we care for “sex workers”, about their human rights and welfare, we should be urging them to exit the trade, not encouraging their entry by legalising brothels.

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