COVID-19 puts women in New Zealand’s sex trade in more danger than ever; why isn’t the decrim lobby helping?

The New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective response to COVID-19 highlights the fact that full decriminalization of prostitution does not actually protect women.

“Those who defend decriminalized prostitution often argue that completely eliminating the risk of the violence and disease involved with prostitution is not possible, because prostitution is inevitable and cannot be stopped, and because it is essential — some men simply cannot live without sexual access to women. So, offering women pamphlets and condoms, and normalizing prostitution by legitimizing it legally, is the best that can be done.

…after the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, NZPC updated the front page of their website to announce that prostitution must be halted by midnight on Wednesday…

There are also some assumptions underlying NZPC’s decision to target prostituted women with its instructions to “STOP PHYSICAL CONTACT SEX WORK BY MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY.” According to studies that NZPC helped to carry out, 72 per cent of these women are stuck in the sex industry due to circumstance. A 2007 survey conducted by NZPC to review the current laws showed that 10 per cent of women in prostitution say they “Don’t know how to leave,” 8.5 per cent say they “can’t get help to leave,” 24 per cent “don’t know what else to do,” and 29.5 per cent “have no other income.”

Yet NZPC assume that it is these very women who have the power and responsibility to shut down the industry. They assume it is the “supply,” not the “demand” — or more accurately, the victims, not the perpetrators — who should be threatened with state intervention in case of “failure to comply.” Will prostituted women be arrested? Are we going to see a return of the brothel raids that police used to carry out before the Prostitution Reform Act? Will this be endorsed by NZPC?”

Source: COVID-19 puts women in New Zealand’s sex trade in more danger than ever; why isn’t the decrim lobby helping?

Firm remains entitled to sack lawyer over Defence Department criticisms

The sacked lawyer led a government-commissioned review in 2011-2012 into physical and sexual abuse in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The review found numerous cases of abuse inflicted on boys as young as 13 from the 1940s until the 1980s.

He then gave several interviews to Fairfax Media, now Nine, where he said that ADF was “failing victims”. At the time, HWL Ebsworth had government clients.

“The fact that the abuse of children, women and other vulnerable service personnel in the care of the Defence Forces happened is appalling. Successive governments were very slow to remedy the harm caused,” Dr Rumble said back in September.

“I was sacked for speaking out for those who most needed help and urging government to take urgent action on this critical national issue.”

Source: Firm remains entitled to sack lawyer over Defence Department criticisms – Lawyers Weekly

Porn age verification: How government plans to restrict online pornography

Australians who watch porn online could soon have to provide their personal details before they can access adult material.

The inquiry is investigating age verification technology for pornographic sites, based on a UK model.

The UK proposed making users visiting porn sites prove they were 18. The government abandoned the plan in October after a series of major technical issues.

The Australian report said three “crucial factors” needed to be sorted out to succeed where the UK scheme failed.

These included ensuring a level playing field for regulation, making age verification easy for consumers to use and raising public awareness of the need for age verification.

The report found a third of parents with children aged between two and 17 were concerned about them watching or being exposed to porn.

Source: Porn age verification: How government plans to restrict online pornography

Just Admit You Don’t Care If We Die

Jessica Williams writes:

The ways in which girls and women are objectified, dismissed, neglected, harassed, silenced and abused seem to be endless. Girls and women have always been objectified in books, magazines, advertisements, tv shows and movies, and we have been overlooked and erased from our very own archived history. Black and Indigenous girls and women have suffered and have been erased even more so than white women.Our body parts are commodified. Archaic beliefs are held about our natural bodily functions, and unless you are a female, the full extent of the brutal truth about how girls and women are viewed, spoken about and treated has been hidden from you. This steady erosion of our humanness has created a world where, for the most part, we are treated like objects and not like living human beings.

Source: Just Admit You Don’t Care If We Die – J.K. Williams

Unpursued in the Top End

Police in the Northern Territory are less likely to pursue a sexual assault report than police in any other state or territory, new data supplied exclusively to ABC News reveals.

The statistics for the NT uncover rising rates of reports withdrawn, falling rates of police action and large variations in outcomes between police divisions.

Source: Unpursued in the Top End – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

1800RESPECT put to tender as complex callers strain the helpline

The contract for the 1800RESPECT service will be opened up for the first time since it was established 10 years ago, as Social Services Minister Anne Ruston released a Coalition-commissioned review by the University of NSW, which found the current operation model involves “financial risks” for the government.

The number of contacts with the national sexual assault and domestic violence helpline has more than doubled over two years.

The report identified a “lack of appropriate strategies” to deal with repeat callers, given help provided by 1800RESPECT is based on a single-session approach.

Expressions of interest for 1800RESPECT open next month. The government expects to make a decision in late 2020, with the successful provider to start work in mid-2021. It plans to extend the MHS contract until then.

Source: 1800RESPECT put to tender as complex callers strain the helpline

Trafficking industry hit as ‘sex worker’ chatbots fool thousands

Campaign to lure men seeking to buy sex triggers big decline in online searches in Seattle.

During a two-year period, Seattle Against Slavery posted fake online adverts that connected people with chatbots that initially posed as sex workers, before delivering a deterrence message. The campaign, which also involved placing more than 2m Google adverts warning people of the risks of buying sex online, led to a 50% decline in online searches for keywords such as “teen escort”.

Source: Trafficking industry hit as ‘sex worker’ chatbots fool thousands | Society | The Guardian

Should lawyers make compromises for the Red Mass?

Protesters have called for lawyers and judges to not attend anymore and wanted lawyers to be aware of the message they are sending to the community by attending.

Child sexual abuse survivors’ advocate Chrissie Foster was one of the many people involved in the silent protest outside.

“Victims of clerical abuse need to know the judiciary is impartial,” Ms Foster said.

On the day, she was holding a sign that read “crime scene”, in reference to the venue, St Patrick’s Cathedral, where convicted Cardinal Pell abused two choirboys in 1996.

Source: Should lawyers make compromises for the Red Mass? – Lawyers Weekly

Prostitution as a cause and consequence of inequality

New Zealand was the first country to decriminalise prostitution and it was promoted as a progressive move. Yet survivors of the sex trade say that pimps and johns are emboldened operating within the law, and that the women are treated more like a piece of property to be used and abused. Speak Up For Women is calling for a review of New Zealand’s laws on prostitution after the murder of Bella Te Pania, who is the fifth prostitute to be murdered since the law change. The Nordic Model is being proposed as an alternative.

Source: Prostitution as a cause and consequence of inequality – Redline

New investigation reveals just how badly police have failed survivors of sexual assault

A ground-breaking investigation by ABC News has revealed, for the first time, the outcome of nearly every sexual assault reported to the police in Australia between 2008 and 2017.

Alone among Australia’s states and territories, NSW Police do not record data on why a sexual assault investigation did not lead to arrest or other formal legal action. Across the rest of Australia, 1 in 5 investigations reports are withdrawn.

Over the 10-year period, Queensland Police rejected 20 per cent of sexual assault reports, while Tasmania rejected 5 per cent. In the ACT, the rate of rejected cases jumped considering over the years, from 3 per cent in 2010 to 21 per cent in 2017.

Source: New investigation reveals just how badly police have failed survivors of sexual assault