Labor Supports Prostitution

Labor Supports Prostitution

Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter

Community Safety First Under Proposed Prostitution Reforms

Victor P Taffa

All forms of Prostitution will be banned from residential areas and Police will be given expanded powers to shut down illegal brothels under the State Government’s Proposed Law Reforms.

Announcing details of the Proposed Prostitution Model today, Attorney General Christian Porter said the Liberal-National Government had put community safety first in the drafting of its Bill.

The model encompasses licensing issues, prohibits any form of prostitution in residential zones, expands Police powers to deal with unlawful Prostitution, controls advertising and includes measures to reduce risks to persons engaged in Prostitution.

“The public expects that no form of Prostitution should be allowed in residential areas in Western Australia and they expect clear laws and robust powers so Police can shut down illegal brothels.” Mr. Porter said.

 

“Unlike Labor’s Bill which would have seen Micro Brothels spread into WA communities and hold Local Governments accountable for their regulation, our proposed model will limit brothels to a small number of appropriate locations and ensure regulation and licensing is controlled by the State Government.”

Under the proposed model, the operator, manager and prostitutes within a brothel would be licensed by the Director of the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. To combat organised crime, applicants would be required to undergo background checks, including Palm Printing and Finger Printing at the discretion of the Director.

The Attorney General said persons with substantial criminal histories would be prevented from obtaining a licence and there would be expansive provisions to prevent the involvement of juveniles.

“Operators and managers of brothels will face up to five years in jail if they are found guilty of employing a child.” the Attorney General said.

“If a child is found present at a brothel, the operators and managers could face fines up to $24,000 for the first offence or imprisonment for up to three years for subsequent offences.”

“The penalty for operating or managing an unlicensed brothel would be up to three years in jail, and for clients caught entering or leaving an unlicensed brothel the penalty would be a fine of up to $6,000 or up to one year in jail.” Mr. Porter said.

“To ensure community safety remains the top priority, Police must be able to shut down illegal operations.”

“Under our proposed model, Police would be allowed to enter any premises they reasonably suspect as being an unlawful brothel and issue on-the-spot fines for any offences which they reasonably suspect are occurring.” Mr. Porter said.

“Importantly, they will be able to issue closure notices to any illegal business, with the approval of an officer of at least Assistant Commissioner rank.”

“The public wants the Government to take responsibility for this issue, they want this situation resolved once and for all and they overwhelmingly do not want to be subject to antisocial and nuisance behaviour in their suburban streets.” Mr. Porter said.

Under the proposed model, all advertisements for prostitution would be restricted to classified sections of publications and must include current licence numbers.

Any operator, manager or prostitute found to be engaged in unlawful advertising would be subject to a fine up to $50,000 and their property would potentially be subject to the operation of the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000.

Recognising the dangers of sex trafficking, clients who engage in sex with a person who is being coerced into prostitution would face a penalty of up to two years in jail, irrespective of whether it could be shown they knew the prostitute was coerced.

Where they were aware that the person was coerced, penalties of up to 14 years jail will apply, or 20 years jail if the coerced person was a child.

“These provisions place an onus on a client to be certain that a prostitute is acting of their own free will.” Mr. Porter said.

“We will also explore options to ensure prostitutes who wish to leave the Industry are provided support and assistance to do so.”

The Attorney General said the Government had announced the proposed model today to provide the WA community with the opportunity to provide comment on the new laws before the Bill was debated in State Parliament.

“We want to take a responsible, pragmatic approach which will provide clarity, certainty and reflect the reasonable concerns of the vast majority of ordinary West Australians.” the Attorney General said.

“We are determined to ensure that local government, residents and people directly affected by what is proposed are able to freely express their views in the lead up to the release of the draft Bill.”

“The Government will consider all comment provided and, following this consultation process, our intention is to finalise and introduce legislation in the first half of 2011.” Mr. Porter said.

Submissions on the proposed laws can be directed to: Department of the Attorney General: Prostitution Reform Area, GPO Box F317, PERTH 6841.