Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 17 Mar 2013.
The NSW Council of Churches welcomes Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recent announcement that the Australian Government will boycott any organisation linked to slavery or people trafficking, but more needs to be done to protect women and reduce demand for sexual services in Australia.
The key to this is the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, which ethically should never become a commodity to be bought and sold at a terrible cost to vulnerable women. If you criminalise the economic transaction, and effectively enforce the law, you reduce the demand for prostitution, which in turn reduces the demand for trafficked women, providing a strong deterrent to human traffickers looking for a place to set up shop.
A review of a Swedish ban on the purchase of sexual services found that prostitution had not increased since 1999, and street prostitution had halved, and had not moved online. Clearly the principle is transferable to Australia, if there’s the political will to support it.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.