August 11th 2001

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Articles from this issue:

Cover Story: The building industry's Royal Commission

Canberra Observed: Telstra creates headache for Beazley pledge

Straws in the Wind: Peter's Friends

Western Australia: WA Liberals' preference deal could be decisive

Red light districts don't work

The Media

Singapore funds (letter)

Tony Abbott criticised (letter)

Birth dearth (letter)

Parenting payments (letter)

Tree cover (letter)

Drug Deaths (letter)

Middle Ages climate (letter)

LAW: International Criminal Court: the dangers

The companies driving US-Australia free trade agreement

Books promotion page

Red light districts don't work

by David Perrin

News Weekly, August 11, 2001
The Bracks Government will soon receive a report calling for a red light district to be established in Melbourne, to try to cope with the explosive effects of street prostitution, mainly in St Kilda. Instead of suppressing street prostitution, the Attorney General's Street Prostitution Advisory Group is believed to be advocating the red light district.

Street prostitution was supposed to be wiped out when the previous ALP government legalised brothels in Victoria, but the only effect has been an increase in legal brothels alongside illegal brothels which have continued to prosper. Legalised brothels continued and expanded under the Kennett Government which followed the fall of the Kirner ALP Government.

The whole concept of legalised prostitution is a nonsense, and flies against common sense which, based on long experience, shows that when any activity is first normalised and then legalised, the activity expands.

Legalised prostitution is part of the seriously flawed notion of harm minimisation that has spread from academic theory into every social policy by governments of all political persuasions. The fact is that prostitution flourishes when governments do not suppress it.

According to a report in The Age (July 29, 2001), the street prostitutes are mostly accompanied by their pimps, to "protect" them from their clients and gutter-crawlers who mindlessly insult them and throw objects at them.

The Bracks Government's committee on drugs last year received evidence from the Prostitutes Collective of Victoria that "over 90 per cent of street sex workers [prostitutes] are injecting drug users, mainly using heroin". Clearly, setting up a red light district Amsterdam-style, is not going to solve the drug addiction of the street prostitutes.

Governments that actively suppress prostitution and the sex industry, assist the prostitutes to get drug-free, and support them with rehabilitation, will provide a better environment for their community.

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