Sign this letter to help women trapped in prostitution

Sign this letter to help women trapped in prostitution

Too many women and girls in Australia are caught in the life-destroying trap of prostitution.

They’re facing violence and coercion, but are afraid to come forward to report abuse or seek help to exit the industry.

Sex industry advocates have tried to claim that removing restrictions around prostitution will “promote health” and “safety”, ensuring it is treated “like any other job”. But the assault, rape, trafficking, PTSD, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse rampant throughout the prostitution industry are incompatible with both of these.

Prostitution is not “work” and it is certainly not “like any other job”. It is not “empowering”. And too often it is not a “free choice”. It is the violent commodification of (mostly) women’s bodies and by its very nature can never be made “safe”.

In some states, it’s the women caught up in prostitution – women who often come from vulnerable backgrounds and enter the industry as a result of childhood abuse, poverty, grooming or coercion – who bear the brunt of state laws that don’t protect them, but threaten them with prison.

In other states, there are scarcely any laws regulating prostitution or deterrence for the drugs and organised crime that are rife within the industry.

Meanwhile, those who exploit women go largely unnoticed by law enforcement.

It’s a mess from one end of the country to the other.

It’s time for the chief law officers of our nation – the Commonwealth, State and Territory Attorneys-General – to bring in uniform legislation that protects women and girls.

One law, from one corner of the nation to the other. So women in every town and city in Australia will know they can find protection and escape.

More people need to speak up and say that the sexual objectification, exploitation and commodification of women and girls is neither normal nor acceptable.

So please sign this open letter to Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus calling on him to introduce new nationwide legislation based on the highly effective “Nordic Model”, to help women and girls escape the dangers and violence of prostitution.

Together, we can demand an end to the sexual exploitation of women through prostitution and tell our politicians there’s a better way.

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2,000 signatures

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To the Hon Mark Dreyfus, Federal Attorney-General

Australia needs new nationwide laws based on the successful “Nordic Model” to protect women and girls who are caught in the prostitution trap.

Prostitution is not “work”. It is not “empowering”. And too often it is not a “free choice”.

It is the violent commodification of women’s bodies and by its very nature can never be made “safe”.

Prostitution and trafficking are inextricably interlinked and are serious threats to women’s equality and the right of women and girls to live their lives free of violence in our society.

Countries like Sweden, Canada and France have followed a progressive, women-centred approach based on the “Nordic Model” for years.

Australia desperately needs to catch up, with you leading the way as Federal Attorney-General.

Under the current legislation in Australia, women caught in this dangerous industry are being abused and exploited. They need legislation that will ensure their protection.

Deregulating the industry is not the answer – it always leads to an increased demand, which then fuels human sex trafficking.

Since Sweden introduced the “Nordic Model” over 20 years ago, street prostitution and trafficking have declined dramatically.

The “Nordic Model” addresses demand by criminalising buyers and those profiting off the exploitation of women, while decriminalising the women whose bodies are being sold. Coupled with support services to assist women who want to leave, the model provides them with a pathway out of prostitution.

Protecting vulnerable women and girls is an election issue that many people like me care about.

And as the next election approaches, our federal leaders need to show that they care too.

Adopting the “Nordic Model” will help provide a better, women-centred solution to help women trapped in prostitution:

  • One that recognises the inherently exploitative and violent nature of prostitution
  • One that addresses demand by criminalising buyers and pimps, while decriminalising the women trapped in this life-destroying industry
  • One that helps women trying to escape the downward spiral of drugs, organised crime and exploitation
  • One that refuses to endorse the sexual objectification and commodification of women and girls as either normal or acceptable.

Australia needs one nationwide law so women at risk in every town and city will know they can find protection and escape.

Please lead the way to ensure that Australia has a united approach, based on the highly effective “Nordic Model”, to safeguard vulnerable women and girls across our nation.