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Five convictions show prostitution law a sham

Thursday, 5 May 2005

Baldock: Five convictions show prostitution law a sham

There have been just five convictions under the Prostitution Reform Act since it was enacted in June 2003, United Future's Larry Baldock revealed today.

"Five convictions in two years. Clearly this law is meaningless and not being policed at all - and that paltry figure is the proof," Mr Baldock said in revealing detail of a Justice Ministry response to his parliamentary questions. "With the Prostitution Law Reform Committee's recently released report indicating at least 200 under-age young people involved in prostitution and 20% of those involved in street soliciting being under-aged, five convictions is simply not enough.

"It shows the police have no resources and virtually no interest any longer in monitoring and apprehending those who are engaging child prostitutes.

"Frankly, It's all a sham. All the hot-air during the debate on the passing of the Act that this was going to toughen up the sentences for purchasing sex from a minor or employing minors in the sex industry has simply not happened," he said.

"Street soliciting should never have been decriminalised. It is the most unsafe of all forms of prostitution. It should be an offence to attempt to purchase sex in a public place and it should be an offence to solicit customers in public.

"The proponents of the Act would not even give the police the power to require proof of age from a prostitute, so how on earth are they meant to carry out their responsibilities?"

Mr Baldock said the Government must now admit the damage the legislation has done and undertake an urgent review of the Act and its consequences sooner than the prescribed date of 2008.

"Waiting that long will mean only more lives damaged in the meantime."

ENDS

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