The December 2010 edition of Life News urged readers to voice their concerns about Western Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter’s plan to licence brothels and prostitutes.
Some aspects of Mr Porter’s proposal are commendable including his determination to: stop the operation of single or two person brothels in residential areas; expand police powers to shut down illegal brothels; prosecute “consumers”; limit advertising; and invest in exit programmes to rehabilitate former prostitutes.
In relation to the matters above, Mr Porter’s plan is significantly tougher than the former Attorney-General Jim McGinty’s “minimalist” plan that nearly became law under the former Carpenter Labor government.
But, while some aspects of Mr Porter’s plan are commendable, other aspects are, simply put, terrible.
If Mr Porter’s proposal becomes law, brothels that have been operating illegally prior to September 2008 would be permitted to continue operating for a period of time, even if they are located near family residences.
New brothels would be licensed by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor, just like other businesses. Many councils across Perth and in country areas want to keep brothels out, but under the government’s proposal, these councils would be powerless to stop them. They would have no option but to permit brothels to operate in “tolerated zones” under normal planning rules, just like delicatessens and hobby shops. The government will in effect be forcing the normalisation of brothels (and prostitution) by recognising them as legitimate businesses. As there is a great deal of money to be made in exploiting women, there will be a flood of applications to the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor after the passage of the legislation.
Mr Porter’s plan would allow people (pimps) to live off of the earnings gained by Western Australian women prostituting themselves.
Legalising prostitution will have an educative function that willencourage many young women (and indeed many people in the community, including men who use prostitutes),to view prostitutionas a legitimate “profession”.
Legalising prostitution will send a powerful message that purchasing a young woman’s body for sexual gratification is sanctioned by the state, albeit in certain circumstances and localities. It will sanction the ongoing sexual abuse of many young women by countless men, to the point that their bodies will be harmed and their spirits destroyed.
It is difficult to imagine that there would be a single Western Australian Member of Parliament who would be anything less than distraught at the prospect of his/her daughter becoming a prostitute. And yet it seems that many of these same MPs are prepared to support the legalisation of prostitution for other parents’ daughters!
It is difficult to imagine that any Member of Parliament would be happy to discover that her husband or son was sleeping with prostitutes. And yet many MPs are prepared to legalise sex between prostitutes and the husbands or sons of other Western Australian citizens! This is a shameful double standard devoid of true concern.
Christians have always opposed the abuse of women through prostitution. Scripture repeatedly condemns the practice of prostitution. It censures those who prostitute themselves, and those who use them. Whether the act is taking place in local neighbourhoods or industrial areas makes no difference whatsoever. It is wrong regardless, and should not be tolerated.Prostitution is not compatible with biblical Christianity, or with the welfare of women, families and society. (For biblical arguments against prostitution see Andrew Lansdown’s pamphlet, “A biblical perspective on prostitution”)
Christian Porter’s proposal to control the trade of prostitution will not succeed in reducing the incidence of prostitution, but will guarantee its proliferation. Western Australia will end up with a legal trade that exists beside an illegal one. As in other states, prostitution will expand exponentially.
In Queensland, prostitution was legalised ten years ago under a similar plan. Today, over 90 per cent of the trade in prostitution remains illegal. “Most aspects of Queensland’s prostitution industry remain unregulated or illegal!” (Candreas Schloenhardt & Human Trafficking Working Group, University of Queensland, 2009).
The Western Australian Government will be making a grave mistake if it concludes that legalisation will reduce numbers or turn career criminals who flouted the law for decades prior to the passage of the legislation into law abiding citizens. (For a thorough explanation of the harm that prostitution causes please read Andrew Lansdown’s pamphlet, “Prostitution and social justice”).
What can you do?
The government has requested feedback, but time is running out. Please take a few minutes to write a short letter stating in your own words that you do not want the government to licence brothels anywhere in Western Australia.
Send your letter by email to: email@example.com
Send your letter by mail to:
Department of Attorney-General, Prostitution Reform Area
GPO Box F317
PERTH WA 6841
Please send a copy of your comments to your local state MP and ask him or her to oppose any moves to legalise brothels anywhere in Western Australia. It is especially important to target the Liberals, as they are in government. A list of state Liberal MPs can be found at www.wa.liberal.org.au/members-profile/state-members