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Street Prostitution, St Kilda, Australia - the issue

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Street Prostitution, St Kilda, Australia - the issue. Street prostitution. St Kilda has been dogged by its presence and consequences for decades, and is subsequently a major community concern. There have been innumerable attempts to address the problem, however it is only until recently that an extensive and resourced approach, incorporating supporters representing all political parties and many community stakeholders, has come into force. In a report released by the Attorney General's Street Prostitution Advisory Group (established in March 2001 and consisting of parliamentary, government, residential, police, welfare, trade, and sex worker representatives), it has been proposed that tolerance zones and street worker centres should be established in the City of Port Phillip in an attempt to efficiently manage street prostitution in the area. This said proposition has been met with much acclaim, but, inevitably, not without opposition. One of the world's oldest professions, street prostitution first arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. Initially confined to the penal settlements, the industry changed dramatically in the nineteenth century, with the gold rush attracting many prostitutes to Victoria. ...read more.


It is clear that prostitution cannot be stamped out entirely, or at least not instantaneously, so why oppose a plan that would effectively control and manage the problem? There are countless aspects of the report that cannot be doubted as being more of a help than a hindrance, the main of which are listed below: 1. Tolerance areas would mean that prostitution in the designated zones could be tightly controlled and managed by police, creating a marginally safer environment for the community, as well as for those directly involved (clients and workers). 2. Street worker centres within the zones would provide safe and sanctioned rooms for street workers to service clients, as well as support for workers who require medical/emotional assistance and pathways for those who wish to exit the industry. 3. Child prostitution would not be permitted at any time. Should a child prostitute be found within the zone, or outside of it, the Department of Human Services Child Protection and Care Unit would be notified immediately. 4. Increased policing would ensure more effective handling of the industry; workers caught soliciting outside tolerance areas would be penalised accordingly by police, and offensive language/behaviour from clients and/or workers would not be permitted in or outside the said zones. ...read more.


However, the cold hard fact of the matter is that, as the Attorney General himself stated; "You can either bury your head in the sand over these issues and take this 1950s, white picket fence, myopic view of the world that if you shut your eyes, street prostitution will go away. Or, you can look at innovative solutions to minimise the harm that's occurring as a result of street prostitution." Without public support, the proposal cannot go ahead in good stead. The issue of street prostitution is not a pretty one, but nor is it uncommon. The only way that the problem can be properly addressed is if all parties involved realise the extreme need for the industry's management. The establishment of tolerance zones and street worker centres, as well as all that is proposed to go hand in hand with them, is an innovative, practical, and much-needed incentive that will undoubtedly reduce, and possibly open the gateway to the eventual eradication of street prostitution. The industry has gotten completely out of hand in the St Kilda area, and needs to be tightly controlled. The report released by the Street Prostitution Advisory Group, of which the government supports, holds the key to ultimately accomplishing this essential goal. ...read more.

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