Recent articles on the exploitation and trafficking of young people into sex work is surely an indication that the legalisation of prostitution has failed.

In 2003 our Government used the dubious process of Conscience Votes to legalise prostitution. There was no mandate from the population to do so and it was based on a false premise of making sex work safe.

Fourteen years later and the results of that legislation show that it is hard for the police to prosecute in an industry legalised by Parliament. Maybe it’s a case of the law of unintended consequences, but I have a suspicion that there were many people predicting this sort of outcome before the voting took place.

So where to now? Firstly a change of law to make the purchase of sex illegal, with the accompanying message that violating people is not OK.

Next, let’s get rid of these conscience votes and allow New Zealanders to set the moral code for New Zealand, not just 64 MPs. Let’s bring in binding referenda so the Government is ruled by the people, not the other way round.

Then, for the benefit of all New Zealanders, let’s start relationship education in schools so that our young people can learn how to build, develop and maintain healthy long term relationships. Maybe, just maybe, if we have good relationship skills it will reduce these abusive relationships that are destroying our young people.
ENDS
Leighton Baker, Party Leader
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