Reason Party leader, Fiona Patten, has condemned the Liberal Party’s support for the so-called ‘Nordic Model’ of regulating sex work which was passed at the party’s state conference last week.
‘This is not a model for regulating sex work but a ban by another name and should be acknowledged as such’, she said. ‘The Liberals have voted to throw out a system of regulating sex work that has been in existence for 30 years and want to plunge it back into the hands of organised crime as it was in the 1950s and 60s. The people of Victoria do not want prostitution being run by crime gangs again’.
Ms Patten called on the party’s state director, Michael Kroger, to conduct a straw poll amongst Liberal MPs, office holders and even rank and file members of the party as to whether they had ever used the services of sex workers. ‘An internal poll like this might show up a considerable level of hypocrisy on the part of those who proposed it at the state conference’, she said.
International health and human rights agencies including Amnesty International, World Health Organization, Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, and Human Rights Watch have all concluded that criminalising sex work and related activities threaten sex worker health, safety and rights.
‘I have visited brothels and spoken to sex workers about what they need from the government. I am pretty sure the last time a Liberal visited a brothel it was not for that purpose’.
“This draconian model must not be adopted in Victoria. However, this could be a reality if Liberals win the November 24th election. The Victorian sex worker laws are outdated and must be reviewed. My calls for this have fallen on deaf ears with this current government but I hope this spurs them into action”
In her maiden speech to Parliament Ms Patten famously said, “I may be the first former sex worker to be elected to a parliament anywhere in this country.” However I am sure that the clients of sex workers have been elected in far greater numbers before me”.
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