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News Article

New SA brothel bill won't stop exploitation
Thursday, May 16, 2013

“Steph Key’s new bill to decriminalise brothels would allow a pimp to legally offer any 18-year-old a job at a brothel, promising big dollars,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said.  “But would they be told of the consequences down the track?

Mrs Phillips said the Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill would abolish almost all prostitution offences, but without any limits on brothels or street prostitution.  It also prohibits any discrimination on the ground of being or having been a prostitute.

“It would do nothing to address the serious exploitation associated with the sex trade wherever it operates,” she said.

Steph Key’s previous prostitution bill was defeated not long after Sheila Jeffreys, a professor of social and political sciences from Melbourne University, addressed a meeting of SA MPs in Parliament House on 31 October.

At that meeting, Professor Jeffreys said: “The SA women MPs who are promoting decriminalisation of prostitution genuinely want to help women.  They think that by treating prostitution as a normal profession like any other, the women can access occupational health and safety measures and be a little better off.

“That’s what motivated MPs in NSW when they decriminalised the sex industry in 1995 – but the effect has been the opposite of that which they apparently intended,” Professor Jeffreys said.

“They argued that decriminalisation/legalisation would limit the growth of the sex industry and end organised crime involvement; it would reduce opportunities for police corruption; it would promote public health by enabling better control of sexually transmitted infections; it would lead to a decline in street prostitution; it would reduce violence against the women and girls in the industry.  In all these respects they have been wrong and these harms have been exacerbated,” Professor Jeffreys said.  

Mrs Phillips said the decriminalisation/legalisation prostitution experiment in Australian states has failed.

“The Nordic model of prostitution law is based on the laws we have in SA now – with the addition of a new law against buying or attempting to buy sex.  It has been effective in curbing the trade – SA MPs should investigate!”


  • Government and society
  • Marriage and sexuality

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