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.