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Vulnerable Young People Over Church Leaders

Media Release - Young Labour

Young Labour Urges support for vulnerable young people over privileged Church leaders

"An ill considered, precious, and surprising foray into a debate about extending basic protections and rights to sex workers", is how Young Labour President Michael Wood describes the push by a number of religious leaders to have MP's vote against the final reading of Tim Barnett's Prostitution Reform Bill this week.

"It is disappointing that this group, who chose not to put forward their strident views at submission time, have chosen to publicly arm twist MP's at this late stage of proceedings", says Arna Metcalfe, Young Labour Women's Representative.

"In particular, we are concerned that this final reactionary push seems to entirely overlook the needs of young people caught up in the sex industry. Young people in the sex industry are particularly vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Infections and exploitation. Decriminalisation will allow for a proper programme of education and regulation, administered by health and social service agencies to reach and assist these people", continues Wood.

"Further, by explicitly making it an offence to cause or assist children into participating in the sex industry, the Bill will ensure that police resources, which are currently put into monitoring consensual adult solicitation, are directed against those who seek to exploit children in this way", says Metcalfe.

"It seems difficult to imagine why some Church leaders would object to these measures, and others which provide sex workers with the same human rights, labour rights, and access to public health that the rest of us enjoy."

"We strongly urge those MP's from across the political spectrum, who have supported the Bill so far, to balance the protestations of this small group against those who have first hand knowledge of the industry such as the Prostitutes Collective and the Public Health Association. Most importantly, we beseech MP's to balance the removed moralism of this group against the needs of vulnerable young people in the industry" concludes Wood.

ENDS

Contact: Michael Wood, 09-620-9256 OR 027-471-9261.

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