Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NORMAC) has today launched its campaign to overhaul prostitution laws in Australia.  NORMAC supports the introduction of more progressive legislation, modelled on the laws operating in Sweden since 1999 (the Nordic model legislation).  This legislation decriminalises the sale of sex by prostituted persons, but makes the purchase of sexual services a criminal offence.

‘People from across Australia have joined NORMAC to work towards reversing the impacts that legalisation and decriminalisation of the sex industry are having on our society.  NORMAC is particularly concerned with the ongoing harm caused to prostituted persons’, said spokesperson Matthew Holloway.

‘NORMAC is a secular organisation supported by individuals and groups across the broad spectrum of the Australian community.  It aims to educate, and make information about the Nordic model available throughout Australia.’

Several states in Australia are debating whether to follow the legalised/decriminalised prostitution approaches taken in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.  These failed approaches have:

* increased the number of prostituted persons, including underage persons, in the legal and illegal sectors
* increased the adverse health effects of those involved in prostitution
* increased the number of organised crime networks trafficking prostitutes into legal and illegal brothels
* undermined gender equality by normalising men’s purchase of women for their own sexual gratification
* negatively impacted on communities, with implications for local government planning, individual business and property dealings, and anti-discrimination considerations
In comparison, a 2008 Swedish government review showed that their legislation has:
* halved street prostitution, with no increase in indoor prostitution
* dramatically reduced sex trafficking into Sweden by organised crime networks
* deterred men from buying sex and improved attitudes to gender equity
* attracted the support of over 70% of the public

The Swedish legislation has not:

* pushed prostitution underground
* adversely affected the health of prostituted persons
* resulted in an increase in the selling of sex on the internet, relative to other countries

Since 1999, Nordic model laws have been adopted in Norway, Iceland, and South Korea.  The Israeli Knezzet has passed a first reading of similar legislation, while France, Ireland and Scotland are set to follow with cross-party support for Nordic style laws.

‘NORMAC will focus its campaign on community education, and will be lobbying governments to reverse failed legislation and implement progressive laws, as has been done in several European nations, and in South Korea’, said Matthew Holloway.

MATTHEW HOLLOWAY has worked as a social worker and counsellor with prostitutes in Victoria.  He is an award-winning writer and social commentator.