The Australian Christian Lobby has again urged state governments around Australia to follow the example of Scotland's ruling Scottish National Party and adopt the so-called "Nordic approach" to prostitution.
The approach, which was backed by SNP members at their recent annual national conference, criminalises those that pay for sex and offers support for those wishing to leave the industry. Pioneered in Sweden 16 years ago, it's since been adopted in countries including Norway, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland and France.
Wendy Francis, the ACL's spokesperson for the dignity of women, said that with growing recognition that traditional approaches to tackling the issue of prostitution led to increased human trafficking, child prostitution and other crimes, momentum for a new progressive approach was increasing.
“This successful approach to prostitution, known as the ‘Nordic approach’, focuses on reducing demand for commercial sexual exploitation..." she said.
Ms Francis added that South Australia in particular - where the State Parliament is currently examining prostitution laws - "has a unique opportunity to make significant inroads to reduce sex trafficking and exploitation in the state by adopting this well-tested approach to prostitution reform".
In May, the ACL will take part in the first Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation.