Rescuer threatened over brothel standWednesday, November 23, 2011
As the WA government’s Prostitution Bill heads for debate tomorrow, rescue worker Linda Watson is facing yet another fearful night after speaking out against the legislation.
“I left the sex industry back in 1997,” Linda says. “Ever since then I’ve wanted to help others quit the terrible trap that I fell into 20 years earlier. I’ve been able to counsel and help hundreds of girls through my House of Hope in Perth.
“But I’ve also spoken out against moves to legalise brothels. If you legalise the sex trade, many more girls are going to think it’s a normal business. The government is sending the wrong message to our children. Whenever you legalise prostitution you are really endorsing abuse against women. Many more will end up getting hurt. So I’ve been warning the government not to go ahead with it,” Ms Watson said.
“But every time I speak out – on radio, TV or in the papers – I get attacked, stalked and harassed. And it’s happening again. I’m scared. But what scares me most is that these crims want to shut me up because they want this bill to pass. If it does pass, they’re the ones who could be behind the scenes, running legal brothels in towns across this state.”
In past years Linda’s House of Hope has been shot at, had its front windows smashed, roof broken into, side fence set alight, a bedroom firebombed and the back door forced. “I thank God for my wonderful neighbours,” Linda says. “They look out for me – I don’t know how I’d manage without them!”
After Linda spoke out against the Prostitution Green Bill some months ago, her garage door was hit with a large rock at 2 am. Neighbours reported two burly men fleeing the scene.
“But in some ways the phone calls are the worst,” Linda says. “Since the Prostitution Bill was introduced on 3 November, I’ve been getting harassing phone calls at all hours of the day and night.
“Some are silent – no one speaks. Others play funeral music. The message is, ‘You’re dead!’ Then on the weekend, I started getting calls from a guy in the Philippines claiming to be a Catholic bishop. But he said things no bishop would ever say, and he said ‘We know all about you. We know where you are!’ He kept phoning me on all my numbers, menacing me, day and night. It’s been suggested that he could be a sex trafficker.”
Linda Watson has gone to the police, but they weren’t interested in the threats. Telstra has now put a block on all incoming international calls to her phone, but Linda worries about what could happen next.
“I invite WA MPs who are thinking of voting for this bill to come and talk to me and find out what really goes on in the WA sex industry,” Linda Watson says. “These crims who have been breaking the law for so many years are not suddenly going to sprout haloes if the law changes!"
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