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Scarlet Alliance "Australia's anti-trafficking response must be redirected, Raids and rescue approach does not work - comprehensive prevention plan is the answer" 3 Feb 2012

Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association calls for Australia's anti-trafficking response to be redirected with a shift to a rights based prevention approach. Speaking the day after a high profile arrest Janelle Fawkes said 'Raids and rescue type approaches have consistently not uncovered victims of trafficking - they are a failed approach and must be recognised as a waste of resources. Fortunately with a regulatory system like NSW's decriminalised sex industry people can come forward and report alleged crime’.

"The small number of victims of trafficking in the sex industry in Australia have been identified when those individuals seek assistance from friends, colleagues, clients, police and support agencies. They have not been identified through raid and rescue approaches" said Janelle Fawkes, Scarlet Alliance spokesperson.

"That people are able to come forward demonstrates support is available and utilised when needed. It also demonstrates the value of a decriminalised sex industry."

"While it may be police process to raid a number of locations once a person has alleged a crime, raids of sex industry businesses have not identified further victims," Janelle Fawkes continued. "This demonstrates to us that a raid and rescue approach is not what is needed."

Scarlet Alliance has advocated for the Australian Government to consider a comprehensive prevention approach that -

  •          creates legal work and visa options, removing the incentive to agree to a contract
  •          recognises and addresses push factors including the criminalisation of sex work in the region and the US Trafficking in Persons Report which threatens sanctions on developing nations and is well publicised as a key factor in South Korea's decision to criminalise sex work
  •          promotes legal frameworks including the decriminalised model in NSW which remove barriers to reporting crime
  •          includes evidence based policy development
  •          provides support and the provision of translated information including visa information and application forms

"While trafficking continues to be low scale in the Australian sex industry, resources have been wasted on approaches largely reliant on boosting policing in Australia and in the region' she said ‘ We know now the approach was simplistic and ineffective - it's time to move forward if Australia is serious about this issue."

Janelle Fawkes said "Reporting on trafficking cases can give the impression that Police raids on sex industry businesses result in rescued women. This is simply not the case. To prevent exploitative conditions it is important that we analyse what does work and not allow inaccuracies to fuel further spending on the failed raids and rescue approach. It is a comprehensive prevention approach that addresses visa and policy issues that will prevent cases and foster an environment where victims can come forward"

 "With a new US Trafficking in Persons report under development now is the time for Australia to adopt a comprehensive prevention plan," Janelle Fawkes concluded.

FOR MEDIA COMMENT CONTACT:  02 9690 0551