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Prostitution legalisation good for business

Prostitution legalisation good for business

Amendments to the Prostitution Reform Bill will increase the size of the prostitution industry and be good for those selling women for sex, Maxim Institute warns.

MPs last night narrowly approved amendments that would require brothels to hold licences issued by districts courts, to try and ensure they were not run by criminals. Councils would also be able to control where brothels operate.

Maxim spokesman Scott McMurray says if the prostitution bill is finally passed with these amendments, New Zealand will be in a similar position to Victoria in Australia.

Mr McMurray says legalisation of prostitution in Victoria has caused an alarming escalation of legal and illegal brothels and businesses providing sexual services.

Prior to the 1994 Prostitution Control Act, there were an estimated 50 illegal brothels in Victoria. In 1999 there were 84 legal brothels, and authorities were considering an additional 90 applications.

In 1999 police estimated there were more than 100 illegal brothels. The police acknowledge that legalisation has not controlled prostitution. Chief Inspector John Ashby of the Vice Squad said, "I suppose there was this utopian view that legalising prostitution would minimise street and illegal prostitution. It clearly hasn't done that".

Even the bill's sponsor, Tim Barnett MP acknowledges that the worldwide experience of legalisation inevitably results in an illegal unlicensed sector. Mr Barnett's promotional material for decriminalisation says, "It supports big businesses at the expense of workers in the industry", and quotes a report on Victoria where it is estimated nearly 70% of brothels operate illegally.

Research also shows that prostitutes suffer from deep psychological harm as a result of prostitution. Why then, would we want to legalise an industry which is inherently harmful and exploits women? says Scott McMurray.

"This bill is not about protection for women. It's about protection for pimps."

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