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Sex industry overhaul delays
Zoe Edwards, ABC TV04.02.13 12:21 am11 comments
The Tasmanian Government appears to have gone quiet on plans to overhaul Tasmania’s sex industry.
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As a result of public pressure from human rights groups across Australia the Tasmanian Government has finally taken heed of the ongoing swing to Nordic model laws in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately for the sex industry lobby the evidence is now clearly stacked against them. The media and the public have a lot of catching up to do about this swing and the evidence that underpins it. No longer can the media and sex industry lobby groups in Australia refer to advocates of Nordic model laws as just coming from either feminist or religious groups. Last year in Australia the establishment of the Nordic Model Australia Coalition has shown this and it is indisputable that more people in the secular community are opposed to the prostituting of persons, women, men and children.
Read more about NORMAC’s Redlight Report here:
Government under pressure to review prostitution laws in England and Wales
Politicians and women’s groups back ‘Nordic model’, under which it is illegal to buy sex The Guardian, Wednesday 26 December 2012 17.34 GMT
The government is coming under increasing pressure to review prostitution laws in England and Wales, as neighbours consider following in the footsteps of Sweden and making the buying of sex illegal.
MPs, peers and women’s groups based in England are supporting changes being considered by Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and are calling on the government to consider introducing the so-called Nordic model.
“2013 is a year in which parliamentarians will be forcibly pushing for the laws around prostitution to be revised, especially in light of what is happening in devolved administrations,” said Gavin Shuker, Labour MP for Luton South, and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on prostitution and the global sex trade. “It is clear that the current legal situation is failing women and it is failing communities, and the government needs to consider if the criminalisation of buying sex could help reduce demand.”
In a year that has seen much debate of the emotive issue, Scotland has taken steps towards introducing a bill to follow Sweden, which in 1999 passed a law that criminalised buyers of sex while maintaining the decriminalisation of selling sex. In 2008, Norway passed a similar law, a move followed by Iceland in 2009, while the French minister for women is seeking abolition of prostitution in Europe. Under complex laws in England and Wales, soliciting sex and kerb crawling are currently illegal, as is selling sex in a brothel…...................
Jacqui Hunt, London director of the human rights group Equality Now, said: “An increasing number of countries are recognising that true gender equality can never be reached as long as it is considered acceptable for one more powerful segment of society to purchase the bodies of those members whose options are much more limited.
“It is no accident that three of the top four countries with the highest level of gender equality have adopted the Nordic model as a way to combat sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. We are urging all governments, including the UK, to adopt legislation on prostitution, to promote the core principle of equality so the exploitation of women and girls can become a thing of the past.”
l led by the Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has recently finished, responses will be published in the new year and a new law – if passed through the Scottish parliament – could come into force in 2014. “Scotland has recognised prostitution as violence against women for some time, but unfortunately there has been a lot of talk and little action,” said Grant. “It was time to do something about it. If you recognise prostitution is violence against a woman then this makes a lot of sense.”....................
According to anti-sexualisation organisation Object, demand for commercial sexual services fuels the sex trade. “We call on all governments to fulfil their multiple international and domestic obligations to tackle demand for prostitution, whilst at the same time providing support services for those who wish to exit the sex trade, to do so safely and permanently,” said its director, Anna Van Heeswijk. Heather Harvey of Eaves said more focus had to be put on helping women out of prostitution. “Along with London South Bank University, Eaves recently launched a report which detailed how the barriers to exiting prostitution can be broken down,” she said. “A key finding was that many women are able to leave prostitution after receiving the appropriate support to overcome these barriers and rebuild their lives.”
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Comment #1 is totally wrong, the government is just too gutless to pursue reform. The result is an unsafe sex industry and higher risk of STIs.
What type of reform should the government be pursuing, Mr Nilsson? Would that be the reform agenda that decriminalises prostitution, as championed by groups like the Scarlet Alliance?
Why is a comment referring to the clear European trend towards criminalising the purchase of sexual services, and providing support for prostitutes wanting to leave the industry, ‘wrong’? Are the governments of Europe and Scandinavia that recognise the inherent inequality in prostitution, and seek to make those purchasing sex accountable for their actions, ‘wrong’?
Are you aware that the decriminalisation of prostitution sought by purported industry groups means no regulation, over and above regular business requirements like council approval of premises, business name registration etc? That means no requirement for health testing of prostitutes, and no oversight of the people working as prostitutes to ensure they are over 18 years, and are not trafficked into prostitution.
How, exactly, will such a reform guarantee a safe sex industry and a lower risk of STIs?
It is entirely true that the government is too gutless to pursue reform of prostitution laws, but purposeful ignorance of the trend towards a Nordic model of legislation is no longer an option.
Bronwyn (Post #3)
I am a cynical, sometimes very sarcastic, male who has watched friends and family endure more than one marriage where the attendant ructions often involved large sums of money.
Watching actors and high society types go through theirs it has occurred to me that marriage, in many cases, is nothing MORE than institutionalised prostitution. Yes, there are genuinely beautiful relationships that will bring a tear to your eye. I have seen but one in my lifetime.
Given that purchasing sex is wrong, and that I do not want to give someone half of what I spent decades acruing after 6 months of cohabitation, you would exile me to a life without intimacy?
Lucky you - I don’t much care for it anymore. But I do remember the drive though.
Re #3 Why would we want to follow (some) European governments? Their economies and debt situations are disasterous, they don’t really know what they are doing.
And Sweden’s legal system is being used to try to get Assange extradited to the US, not sure if that is the model to base ours on.
Regarding regulation, we need it, and you can’t regulate an industry unless it is legal.
And all of the do-gooders clamouring for reform - what would you have the people currently involved in prostitution do for their earnings? Whether it be to support their drug habit; support their children in a one-person income household; maybe just enjoyment; or, heaven forbid, feeding their sense of superiority over the poor, weak males who can’t help themselves. Perhaps you would rather those that desperately require the funds, for whatever reason, resort to robbery (usually with violence). Will you offer your home to those who find themselves without income due to your inability to keep your fingers out of the affairs of others? The self-righteousness of the ‘I know what’s right’ brigade is somewhat stifling at best and nauseating at worst.
#4 Two points, Stephan.
1. You describe marriage as institutionalised prostitution, and ask why a person should part with half of their hard-earned assets, accrued over decades, when a relationship of six months duration breaks down.
Firstly, the ‘money for sex’ marriage scenario is not one that fits with today’s marital relationships. How many women do you know who have married, within, say, the last 25 years, and relied on their husband to support them, in exchange for their sexual favours? Probably none. Economic imperatives these days require that both partners earn an income, and many women continue to work after they have had children, as well as shouldering the bigger part of the child-rearing task.
Secondly, you need to have a quick browse through the Australian Family Law Act. No woman who has cohabited with a man for just 6 months would be entitled to half the assets acquired by that man over the preceding decades. In fact, divorced women, particularly those with children, are often significantly disadvantaged, both economically and socially, by divorce.
2. You ask, ‘Would you exile me to a life without intimacy?’. To which I reply, ‘Is intimacy a right, or is it a need?’ This is an important distinction. No-one denies the human need for intimacy, but do men have an inviolable ‘right’ to sexual intimacy, and a right to purchase the body of another human being in order to satisfy it? How does a man rationalise the fact that the body he is using to exercise his rights, has also been used by many others? Does the concept of exploitation ever cross his mind?
#5 Mr Nilsson, three points.
Firstly, the governments in Europe that have moved to introduce legislation to criminalise the purchasing of sexual services and provide support to prostitutes who want to leave the industry, are among the better-performing European economies. Their economic situations are arguably far better than Tasmania’s. And, in any event, how is the economic performance of a jurisdiction in a time of dire worldwide economic and financial stress relevant to their long- term human rights’ policies. The Nordic model prostitution laws are ideologically anchored in notions of human rights and gender equality. They are not an economic initiative.
Secondly, you say that, ‘Sweden’s legal system is being used to try to get Assange extradited to the US, not sure if that is the model to base ours on’. The attempted extradition of Assange is indicative of the U S administration’s need to make an example of someone who exposed several of its dirty secrets. The fact that Sweden is involved is entirely incidental. The US will attempt to manipulate any legal system – Assange just happened to have been resident in Sweden. And, how is the issue of Julian Assange’s extradition relevant to Sweden’s prostitution laws?
Thirdly, ‘Regarding regulation, we need it, and you can’t regulate an industry unless it is legal’. Prostitution is not currently illegal in Tasmania, but brothels, or premises where more than two prostitutes are working together, are illegal. Sex worker ‘industry groups’ do not want regulation. They want decriminalisation of prostitution, which, as I have noted previously, means no regulation of the people working in the industry, or their health status.
#6 greenwitch00, you outline several reasons for women working as prostitutes, but did you think before you pen to paper? You appear to acknowledge that prostitution is often a last resort for women with a drug addiction or women supporting a family alone. Do you really think that offering their bodies to a succession of men, and risking disease and abuse, is something that a civilised society should support as an option for these women?
You also suggest that some women may enjoy prostitution. Whilst it is possible that a very small minority of women might enjoy sex up to 10 times a day, and can manage to live the ‘Pretty Woman’ lifestyle as an escort, the reality for most women, and most prostitutes is quite the opposite. No matter how much lube you use, sex 10 times a day is irritating at best, and painful and damaging at worst. And that’s just vaginal sex – anal sex, which many punters demand, causes even more physical harm.
And very, very few prostitutes live the ‘high class escort’ lifestyle. As you yourself acknowledge, mostly it’s about supporting a drug habit, or a single parent family, and there’s nothing glamorous about either of those.
Lastly, you propose that some women see prostitution as a means of ‘feeding their sense of superiority over the poor, weak males who can’t help themselves’. Really? I thought women had moved on from using their bodies to control men. What was feminism all about? Wasn’t it about women having something more to offer society than just their bodies, to be used for the sexual satisfaction of men, and the procreation of the human species? What’s wrong with a woman feeding her sense of superiority over men by seeing that they take responsibility for their sexual exploitation of her sisters?
And, perhaps you should have conferred with Stephan before commenting – he seems to think that men are in control when they’re paying prostitutes for sex, and he abhors women who use sex to control men. Otherwise, you two seem to be on pretty much the same, simplistic ideological page.
Thanks for the education Bronwyn - really.
Ahhh, and I don’t “abhor” women who use “sex” to control men. As for intimacy - well we’re all the product of our families - some do well and others - not.
Simple? - yes. Black, White and certain shades of Grey. :)
Bronwyn, I am not sure how clear I can make it, prosititution, include having several prositutes working together in the one business premises should be both legal and regulated. It should be legal because there is no reason why consenting adults should not be allowed to buy and sell sex if they want to, it should be regulated like any commercial activity is, to ensure safety of both the buyers and sellers, and furthermore the protection of society as a whole by reducing the transmission of STI’s.
You can describe the banning or criminalisation of such activity as “human rights” if you want to, but it seems more to relate the protection of the morals of certain prude types.
Regarding Assange, Sweden’s involvement is not “entirely incidental” as you describe, there are certainly various people in Sweden trying to use its legal system to carry favour with the US. There have been two “extraordinary renditions” of terrorist suspects from Sweden by the US.
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