The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed a South Australian private member’s bill, supporting the so called Nordic Model or Equality Model to reform the state’s prostitution laws. It would criminalise operators and clients, but not the women involved in the industry in a move to push the state away from its legacy of full criminalisation.
The bill has been introduced by the state’s Upper House Liberal leader Nicola Centofanti. She told the state parliament that attacking the demand side of the industry would promote equality for women and help reduce abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
“I bring this Bill to the Legislative Council as a pathway to protect those in prostitution. Too often, the sex industry is not a choice. It is by far the case, and not the exception to the rule, that many women who find themselves in the trade do not do so by choice and are often vulnerable as a result of childhood abuse, domestic violence, coercion, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction,” she declared.
ACL Queensland director Rob Norman told Vision Radio it is a great bill that speaks to the whole of Australia. “It’s the Equality Model bill and it basically will prosecute the pimps and third parties profiteering from prostitution. It will also provide exit paths for prostituted persons. It’s a particularly important bill. It implements what we call the Nordic Model, which was obviously founded in Sweden and has grown throughout Europe, into Ireland and other areas of the Northern Hemisphere at least,” he said.
“This is the first time we’ve seen a bill like this in Australia and the Honourable Nicola Centofanti is to be applauded for it. We believe that there are good numbers in the Upper House in South Australia. Whether or not this bill is passed, it goes on record and it’s a very good beginning,” Mr. Norman proclaimed.
He noted it is in stark contrast to planned legislation in Queensland: “There has been a recommendation by the Queensland Law Reform Commission to fully decriminalise prostitution in the state. This [SA] bill goes opposite to that. We know that the Nordic Model has the effect of reducing the size of the sex industry. We know statistically that what Queensland is proposing will increase the size of the industry. What many people don’t realise is that the consequences of doing this will feed into trafficking and basically violence against women. So vulnerable women are drawn into prostitution and then it becomes a massive problem. And so this is a great bill and it really does speak to the whole of Australia,” the ACL director reiterated.
ACL Director of Public Policy, Christopher Brohier reinforced that support, saying: “Ms Centofanti’s bill is based on the most progressive, women-centred model of prostitution law reform in the world. It was recently supported by a significant majority of the European Parliament and has been implemented successfully in many countries around the world, the latest jurisdiction being Maine in the USA.”
“The Equality Model reduces trafficking and prostitution. It is a win for all women! The recent criticisms of the model by those who advocate for the protection of pimps by complete decriminalisation are based on tired, factually wrong propositions,” Mr. Brohier pronounced.