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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 23 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

This is desirable legislation. The ALP is happy to support it in principle, but we have just that concern around the desirability of this very broad definition of "offensive weapon" which will apply across the board in the ACT if this amendment is successful. We are going from a definition of "offensive weapon" which had some basic objective criteria to a definition of "offensive weapon" which renders any object, irrespective of the purpose for which it is being carried or used, an offensive weapon. We believe that it is a retreat, we believe that it is unacceptable and we believe it to be unnecessary.

If the police force of New South Wales is satisfied with a provision that requires that there be at least some notion of intent in relation to the possession of the item, I am surprised that the police force in the ACT cannot pursue its duties on the same offence with the same effectiveness.

MS TUCKER (11.58): I am a bit concerned, having listened to Mr Stanhope speak about this bill. As well, I got the scrutiny of bills committee's report about five minutes ago. I just want to put on the record, once again, that I do not like this process. I do not know what the Assembly would think about putting off this bill until a later time this day, but I will make general comments on it and I will listen to what other members say. Hopefully, other people will speak on it, so that I will have time to consider further what we should do with this bill and whether it is desirable to delay its passage until a later time this day so that we can have a bit more time to look at it.

The first part of this bill will make sexual servitude a crime in the ACT, its already being a crime under Commonwealth law when there is some overseas connection. This bill implements the model criminal code developed by the model criminal code office of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. It is a legislative response to trafficking in people, women and children in particular, for sex work, for prostitution.

The Greens will be supporting this legislation, we think, although, having listened to Mr Stanhope, as I said, I have to listen to the response from the government. The Greens will be supporting this legislation, depending on the further debate. Forcing someone to do sex work should be a crime, just as forcing someone into sex of any kind is a crime.

The Commonwealth initiative responds particularly to an international trafficking of women and children, usually from less developing countries, to "work" in Western countries. In the law report on Radio National last November, a former Australian Federal Police agent who had worked in a sex slavery investigation unit for three years described some of the situations he had witnessed. He reported finding Thai women who were brought to Australia illegally, false papers having been prepared, and arrived with a debt owing to the operators of a substantial sum. He gave the example of $20,000 to $30,000 in debts.

Some of the women knew to begin with that they were going to work as sex workers, but some of them believed that they were going to work as waitresses. Some of the women had not left a brothel in the time that they had been there. He said that some did not even know where they were. Some did not even know of places beyond their rural villages and did not even know that Australia existed. From other witnesses, we have heard of drugs being given or withheld as a means of keeping people quietly in

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