FamilyVoice Australia has pointed out serious weaknesses in the WA Barnett government’s plan for legal brothels in red light districts across the state.
At a community forum in Belmont last night (Tuesday 8 June), Attorney-General Christian Porter announced that he would issue a Green Bill on prostitution before the end of the year.
Mr Porter said his Bill would set up a licensing system for brothels in non-residential areas approved by the State Government and local councils, while giving police new powers to act against unlicensed brothels.
FamilyVoice Australia policy officer Richard Egan was at the forum, and like many in the audience, was unconvinced.
“People who had experienced police refusal to act on complaints about existing brothels – including one established next door to a women’s sexual assault referral centre – were not persuaded that anything would really change under Mr Porter’s proposal,” Richard Egan said. “If police refuse to enforce the existing law and the Barnett government does nothing, why should we believe police will do their job under the new laws?
“Mr Porter said the government plan would accommodate the market demand for prostitution by setting up a system of licensed brothels in certain non-residential areas. However this plan ignores the harm prostitution does to the community and to all those involved. No system of legal brothels anywhere in the world has eliminated child prostitution, drugs and trafficked women – rather, the reverse,” Mr Egan said.
“Mr Porter said we should accept that prostitution will occur and legalise the trade, because we can never suppress it entirely. He failed to persuade questioners that prostitution should be treated differently from assaults or theft – which we also know will occur. Should we legalise them too?
“Mr Porter claimed that prostitution is like alcohol or gambling – saying it should be regulated rather than banned. It is offensive to suggest that every Western Australian who has a social drink or who buys a lottery ticket is somehow equivalent to a pimp,” Mr Egan said.
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