30 Oct 2019

Prostitution bill would increase exploitation of women: Bishop O'Kelly

The Southern Cross  |  October 30, 2019

Prostitution bill would increase exploitation of women: Bishop O'Kelly

South Australian Catholics have been warned that a proposed bill to decriminalise prostitution would increase the opportunity for further exploitation and trafficking of women.

While prostitution is currently legal in SA, brothels are not.The bill to decriminalise sex work, introduced by Ms Tammy Franks MLC, was debated in the Lower House of State Parliament today and a vote will be taken on November 13.

In a pastoral letter to the people of the Adelaide Archdiocese and Port Pirie Diocese, Bishop O’Kelly said making brothels legal increased their social acceptability, resulting in greater demand which would further the market for trafficking.

“The decriminalisation of brothels gives serious cause for concern about the possible increase in the trafficking of Asian women to Australia,” Bishop O’Kelly wrote.

“Social analysis statistics indicate the disproportionately high ratio of Asian women engaged in massage parlours.

“We know that in Australia very many women come to this country thinking their employment will be in the hospitality industry as waitresses and kitchen workers, and find they have been deceived and trapped into staffing brothels.

“The police need to be able to access brothels automatically and officially to ensure that human rights are not being violated.”

Bishop O’Kelly stressed that the status of all women was damaged if a law said they could be bought and sold for sex.

“This is contrary to any human dignity, gender equality, and the status of women,” he wrote.

“As committed Catholics we should have deep reservations about this proposed legislation.”

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