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News Article

Latest SA prostitution bill throws women to the wolves
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This sex worker was abused by a pimp while working on the streets of Tel Aviv in 2011


“Michelle Lensink’s Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill, to be introduced in the SA Legislative Council this afternoon, would repeal all the protections for women in our current laws,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today. 

“Ms Lensink’s bill is the same as Steph Key’s lapsed 2014 bill.  Its schedule would repeal laws against pimping and procuring.  There would be no limits on brothels or street prostitution.  It would be open slather for exploiters.  If passed, it would be a disaster.”

The new bill is the ninth attempt to legalise or decriminalise the SA sex trade.  The first, sponsored by Robin Millhouse, was defeated in 1980.  The next, by Carolyn Pickles, was withdrawn in 1987.  Ian Gilfillan, Mark Brindal and Terry Cameron tried and failed in the 1990s, while several bills were introduced simultaneously in 2000 – the one which narrowly passed the lower house failed in the upper house in 2001.  Steph Key’s 2012 bill was defeated; her 2014 bill lapsed.

“I urge Michelle Lensink to learn from New Zealand, which passed similar legislation in 2003,” Ros Phillips said.  “I visited Christchurch in 2012, and learned that three street prostitutes had been murdered since the law was passed, compared with none in living memory before. 

“South Australia would do well to follow the example of Canada and France.  Both countries have recently adopted the Nordic model of prostitution law, which penalises exploiters and helps sex workers quit their damaging trade.”


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