Linda Watson, the former Perth prostitute and madam who turned to Christ on the day Princess Diana died and now rescues girls caught in the trap of the sex trade has been the target of a series of attacks dating back to October 2001.
Linda’s House of Hope has been fire bombed, shot at, had its front windows smashed, side fence burned and back door forced. Linda has been repeatedly stalked and harassed. She often receives threatening phone calls from men and sometimes brothel madams. They say she is “dead meat” and they will destroy her ministry. She received the worst calls after being quoted in the media for opposing moves to legalise and legitimise the sex trade. She is hated for explaining to the media what really goes on behind closed doors in brothels (legal or illegal).
Praise God that Linda is still here, still taking calls from desperate, damaged girls and pointing them to a new life. I tell her, “You must be doing something right to provoke such fury from the brothel owners and bikie gangs!” But although we joke about it, Linda is experiencing great stress.
A few months ago, despite the efforts of Linda and others to persuade WA MPs not to pass the Prostitution Amendment Bill, the Legislative Council voted by the narrowest of margins to do just that. If Shelley Archer had changed her mind, the bill would have failed. We were deeply disappointed, but I thought at least Linda might be given some peace from her sex trade tormenters.
I was wrong. They have not stopped, because Linda hasn’t. She has been telling local councils (who must now decide whether to allow licensed brothels in their area) exactly what they are up against. And the organised criminals who are behind the sex trade are hitting back at Linda.
A few nights ago Linda’s back door was attacked. We praise God that it was a heavily reinforced steel security door and it did not give way – but it is permanently damaged and cannot be opened. Linda is grateful to the WA police, who promptly answered her call for help this time. As with other attacks, the offenders have left no clues to their identities.
Please pray for Linda that she may remain calm and at peace in the midst of mayhem. I believe it is no coincidence that the latest attack on her came just after the new WA opposition leader Colin Barnett announced that if elected to govern on 6 September, he would repeal at least part of the Prostitution Amendment Act because of serious community concerns.
So please pray too for the outcome of these watershed WA elections. At FamilyVoice Australia (yes, we have changed our name from Festival of Light to indicate more clearly that we speak out for families) we are again surveying candidates for the WA state elections, called by Premier Alan Carpenter with very little notice.
We are in the middle of changing to a new FamilyVoice Australia website (www.fava.org.au) but the old website is still operating and you will find the scores of individual election candidates there (www.fol.org.au), hopefully during the week before 6 September.