Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Outrage At Lowering Legal Prostitution Age

31 August 2001

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. is outraged that there has been a call from the NZ Aids Foundation for the lowering of the proposed legal age for prostitution, set at 18 under the proposed Prostitution Reform Bill, to 16. Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Kevin Hague, in an oral submission on the Bill presented to the Justice and Electoral Committee (see Dominion 30/8), argued passionately that it should be lowered to 16 to make it “consistent with the age of consent for sexual behaviour” [sic]. (He meant of course to say the age of “sexual consent”). With prostitution redefined under the Bill as part of the “service industry,” why shouldn’t those who have reached the age of consent be able to ply their ‘trade’ from the footpaths of our cities or procure others into the ‘industry’?

The Society, which in its own submission to the select committee has strongly opposed the Bill to decriminalise prostitution, involving the repeal of all laws against soliciting, pimping, making a living off the earnings of prostitution and procuring for prostitution; considers the Foundation’s position socially irresponsible and injurious to the public good. It is angry that an organisation, largely funded by tax-payers and one of the key supporters of the Bill, should be leading the charge for a lowering of the proposed legal age, when all the research on the ‘industry’ indicates that it is damaging to the sexual health, physical, psychological, emotional well-being of young people, particularly young girls. The NZ Aids Foundation’s submission was supported by the Family Planning Association.

The Society points out that Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which NZ ratified in 1993, states that NZ must “undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” and “take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent … the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices.” Part I, article 1 of the Convention defines a child as “every human being below the age of 18 years”. Furthermore, NZ is signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) which requires our government to “take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic of women and exploitation of prostitution of women” (Article 6).

Mr Gordon Dempsey the Society’s president says that “rather than assisting to suppress all forms of sexual exploitation of women and children, as required by international law, the Bill will issue in a season of open slather leading to a growth boom in an ‘industry’.” According to the Society’s spokesperson, David Lane, “the NZ Aids Foundation has over-reached itself in its demands for our government to consider making prostitution legal for 16 year olds and thereby revealed the ethical bankruptcy of the Foundation’s ‘mission’ to effect ‘reform’. The indisputable fact based on extensive research world-wide, is that prostitution is injurious and detrimental to the physical, mental, psychological and spiritual well-being of the vast majority of women involved in the ‘industry’.” (see refs. SPCS submission).

In a seven page published critique of the Bill by Mr Lane, on behalf of the Society, sent this week to every member of Parliament, the unfolding disaster of child prostitution in Australia is reported on. Figures as identified by ECPAT (the international body combating prostitution and trafficking) indicate that 3,733 children are currently engaged in commercial sexual activities in Australia. The highest number of reported cases come from Victoria, followed by NSW, where prostitution has been legalised and decriminalised, respectively. The majority of these cases involve young persons aged 16 to 17 years, but a disturbing finding was the number of 10 to 12 year olds and some under the age of 10.1

The Society argues that many of our politicians, soon to vote on the Bill, will need to carefully examine their consciences and ask the questions: Do I want my vote to pave the way for 16 year olds to be able to legally prostitute themselves in public places, be sex ‘slaves’ to pimps and make a living by managing brothels? Do I want my vote to remove all regulations and control measures (as proposed in the Bill by the repeal of the Massage Parlours Act 1978) relating to who can manage and operate brothels? Do I want my school age children examining future job prospects and careers believing that prostitution is a legitimate and legal part of the “service industry”? Do I want my daughter, friend’s daughter, niece or close relative, to be made an easier target for madams and pimps seeking new younger “sex workers”?


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages