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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 27 November 2014) . . Page.. 4261 ..


With 2015 shaping up to be an even bigger year than 2014, I wish everybody on both sides of the chamber all the very best for the festive season and I look forward to working with you next year.

Women—prostitution and human trafficking

Valedictory

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (6.25): I look forward to making a couple of comments about Christmas, if I get time, and if I read my adjournment speech fast enough.

Today I would like to describe conclusions drawn from my study trip to Sweden and South Korea in April this year, which was to investigate the implementation of laws and exit programs to minimise the harms to women and to ensure they are free to exercise their choice over their lives, aspirations and circumstances.

Women working in prostitution are subject to violence as a standard part of their job. One woman who survived 10 years in the sex industry told me that about 25 per cent of those who paid her for sex were extremely violent and, in her own words, “They wanted to make me bleed.” Other women have told me clients would pay for one type of sex and then decide halfway through that they would take another by force, which is actually rape. This is a norm in prostitution.

A brothel owner in Canberra told me: “It’s tough work; most girls come to work for a few weeks, and then disappear for a few weeks. You never know when they will come.” I thought to myself, “This is a sure sign of post-traumatic stress disorder.” She also described them as having “a screw loose”, which is rather concerning coming from someone making their money from women using themselves in this way.

I visited two countries as part of my trip—Sweden and South Korea. In Sweden all government agencies work strongly in concert to prevent violence against women. We met with the Swedish Institute, the ministry of education, the national police board, the public prosecution office, the chancellor of justice, social services, the justice committee, the ambassador-at-large, the ministry of foreign affairs, the county board, and the national coordinator against prostitution.

The Swedish women’s movement are a formidable, strong and powerful organisation that are focused on true equality for women. They are not afraid, nor too posh, to look honestly at the sex industry, what is involved for women and how often women suffer from PTSD from the acts they are required to perform.

We also met with various key women in the Swedish women’s movement. They were willing to state that sex is not a human right, that if it is allowed to be demanded then it degrades women’s ability to say no and it means someone is forced to provide it. In Sweden there is a great deal of support for exit programs and they are very well funded by the government. They have a strong relationship with municipal services. They provide individualised care planning based on trauma recovery. They make medical and psychological care available, as well as education options for survivors to


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