Friday, 21 November 2008

just apply the law as it stands. is that really so difficult?

i saw this press release from the national council of women on the scoop site today, regarding the prostitution law reform bill:

“NCWNZ is alarmed by the passing down of lenient sentences for men convicted of having sex with girls under the age of 18 under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003,” says NCWNZ National President Elizabeth Bang...

“NCWNZ is disturbed that there seems to be no disincentive for men for their actions when they are getting name suppression and receiving light sentences for buying sexual services from girls under 18, this makes a mockery of the law,” says Mrs Bang.

NCWNZ is also concerned that the judiciary have shown little concern about what is going on when recent convictions show men being given a community service sentence only.

“NCWNZ would like to see tougher penalties currently in the Act, applied in the very near future, so men are held accountable for buying sexual services from minors under the age of 16, that in any other circumstance could be considered statutory rape,” concluded Mrs Bang.

i can only second these comments. it's appalling that the law is not being applied, and perhaps the fact that the judiciary continues to be predominantly male is having an impact.

like NCWNZ, i also don't "condone prostitution or the purchase of sexual services", in that i hate women being treated as a commodity, even if they are willing to put themselves in that position. i would have much preferred us adopting the swedish law which sees men being prosecuted rather than women.

there was an interesting discussion (3 minutes in) on radio nz about proposals in the UK, which seem to be a strange and impractical combination of legalisation and criminalisation. basically, it seems they want to prosecute men using prostitutes who are controlled or influenced or under pressure from someone else. the main problem is that it will almost impossible to find out if the woman is being coerced or abused without some kind of in-depth investigation prior to purchase of services, which is more than your average john is going to bother with. under the proposal however, ignorance will no longer be an excuse.

but no matter what you're thoughts on that, the prostitution of underage girls remains illegal and the men who use them must be brought to account. this is child-abuse, and needs to be treated as seriously as any other form of abuse.

8 comments:

Julie said...

Perhaps it would help if some of our media didn't see men using underage prostitutes as something for the gossip columns as opposed to the crime section?

The ex-expat said...

In regards to the UK, I think they have a problem with human trafficking there where women from Eastern Europe are being moved into the UK illegally and forced into the sex trade.

muerk said...

what bothers me is that we made pimping legal.

stephen said...

ex-expat: I believe we may have a similar problem here, but from SE Asia rather than Eastern Europe. I certainly recall a case involving Thai women quite recently.

Dave said...

Regardless of what we think about prostitution sex with underage children is illegal. Morality aside the legalization of prostitution was a good move and the right thing to do. It is perfectly legal to be a used car salesman, real estate agent, lawyer or politician, a prostitute is somewhat further up the food chain. I used to flat with a women who was a sex worker and it certainly gave me an insight into the industry. Her attitude was fairly simple, she got paid for doing what a lot of girls did for free on Friday & Saturday nights. she enjoyed sex and she earned a lot of money for having fun.

dave said...

Regardless of what we think about prostitution sex with underage children is illegal. Morality aside the legalization of prostitution was a good move and the right thing to do. It is perfectly legal to be a used car salesman, real estate agent, lawyer or politician, a prostitute is somewhat further up the food chain. I used to flat with a women who was a sex worker and it certainly gave me an insight into the industry. Her attitude was fairly simple, she got paid for doing what a lot of girls did for free on Friday & Saturday nights. she enjoyed sex and she earned a lot of money for having fun.

Anna said...

The leniency is a sort of character judgment - it matters less when you commit statutory rape on a prostitute than a 'good' girl. This is another sorry version of 'She wore a short skirt - she was asking for it'.

tussock said...

I suppose a non-identifying photo-ID card for prostitutes (and anyone else who wants to prove their age for legal or commercial purposes without giving out their name and address) is in order. I don't see any other way of being certain about the age of anyone under 25 or so.

Given some strict privacy around registering for the ID, it should be a simple enough process, along the lines of an 18+ card.

Hopefully, the judiciary would be less forgiving of Johns who neglect to card their prospective partner.