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MP should see the bigger prostitution picture

United Future calls for MP’s to see the bigger prostitution picture

After returning last weekend from a personally-funded overseas trip to gather more information on Sweden’s prostitution law reform, United Future’s Larry Baldock is urging fellow MP’s to address the Prostitution Law Reform Bill in a global context.

“As a signatory to a number of UN resolutions and protocols, New Zealand is obliged to take all measures possible to prevent the illegal trafficking of women and children,” he says.

“This trafficking is solely to provide workers for the prostitution industry and is placing women and young girls in situations replicating the conditions of slavery abolished hundreds of years ago.

“To pass legislation that decriminalises pimping and street soliciting here in New Zealand would be in violation of our responsibilities. We can find a way to address the inequalities of the current situation regarding the injustice of only penalising the supplier of sexual services.

“In 1999, Sweden criminalized the buyer of those services, while not criminalizing the seller, in legislation which is now being pursued by a growing number of other European countries such as France, Finland, Norway and even to some extent Denmark,” says Mr Baldock.

He says the United States has recently withdrawn all non-humanitarian aid from any country which is not actively taking measures to co-operate with the international effort to combat the trafficking of women and children.

“More than 100,000 women, many of them under the age of 18, are being trafficked virtually as slaves for the sex trade in Europe alone every year. Most are coming from Russia and the regions of the former USSR, not to mention the many more who have for a long time been consigned to this miserable existence from the poorer Asian, African and South American nations.

“I would like to see MP’s take these factors into account when considering this legislation,” concluded Mr Baldock.

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