Speaking out against the exploitation of women and children: Collective Shout cited in NSW Modern Slavery Act report
Report cites Collective Shout and Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist
Following its 2019 Inquiry into the Modern Slavery Act 2018 and Associated Matters, the New South Wales Legislative Council tabled its final report last month. The Act makes new provisions regarding child sexual exploitation material through the addition of the following offenses to the NSW Crimes Act 1900:
a new aggravated offence in relation to using a child to produce child abuse material, and a new offence of providing information to assist a person to avoid detection for a child abuse material offence.
We welcomed these new provisions which will strengthen capacity for holding offenders to account for sex abuse crimes committed against children.
The report contained several references to Collective Shout’s submission and evidence presented by Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist who appeared for us at the Inquiry hearing last November, including the following quote from our submission:
New South Wales law must ensure that any person who is facilitating such horrific acts as the abuse on demand of babies and other young children, wherever the abuse might be occurring, through a digital platform operating in or accessed from New South Wales, is subject to an offence, whether the person administering or assisting to administer the digital platform does so intending it be used for that purpose or after becoming aware that it is being used for that purpose fails to take all reasonable steps to prevent that use.
Contrary to our recommendations against watering down the Act in relation to digital platforms the amended Bill now excludes the previously proposed new criminal offence of administering a digital platform used to deal with child abuse material. Conflicts between Federal and State law was cited by the committee. Several contributors to the Inquiry objected to this deletion, noting that its inclusion was stronger than the provisions of Commonwealth legislation to hold digital platforms and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) accountable for hosting child sex abuse material. We shared concerns that its exclusion will provide loopholes for such offenders. As Melinda Tankard Reist pointed out at the hearing:
The child victim is a part of the slavery supply chain. Combating modern slavery has to include combating the global epidemic of this pay-per-view torture of children in the growing trade of predators commissioning the live sexual abuse of a child viewed via their computer screens and facilitated by their ISPs. ISPs and telcos including Telstra, Optus, iiNet and TPG are providing the infrastructure for the live streaming of the abuse of children to be possible. ISPs are part of a chain which contributes to the distribution of child sexual exploitation material but they have not been brought to account.
Melinda Tankard Reist at the Inquiry hearing, 4 November 2019
In her verbal evidence, MTR commended other contributors to the Inquiry, including International Justice Mission Australia (IJM) and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA), as well as the expert advice of UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland. We were pleased to see Hyland’s six-point strategy for ending modern slavery featured in the report, which highlights the need for all nations to mandate - through legislation - a child-exploitation - and human-trafficking-free internet, as well as the outcomes of the proposed legislation which, according to Hyland, include “leading businesses into generating ethical profits free from exploitation and modern slavery”. We anticipate this outcome will have positive consequences for the broader community - women and girls particularly who stand to benefit from corporates who are unwilling to profit from exploitative activities.
While not mentioned in the Final Report, we noted CATWA’s significant observation that the Act’s proposed minimum $50 million annual turnover threshold for mandatory supply chain reporting will fail to capture agents of the sex industry - an industry in which women are at greatest risk of trafficking and slavery. In its submission CATWA concluded:
A requirement for sex industry businesses to report would be a first step in the fight against modern slavery.
We strongly support this recommendation and would advocate for its inclusion in any future amendments.
Read our full submission to the Inquiry here.
Read the full Parliamentary Hearing transcript here.
Read the NSW Legislative Council's final report here.
It has come to our attention that Merriwa Tavern The Sixty 30 has made an application to vary existing trading conditions to allow topless waitresses or ‘skimpies’.
As an organisation that fights against commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls, Collective Shout strongly opposes this application on the grounds that:
- The use of women’s bodies in sexual entertainment and services is a form of prostitution
- Sexual trade in women’s bodies both causes and contributes to gender inequality by reducing women to mere objects for men’s use and enjoyment, with adverse impacts on women who are directly involved as well as women as a whole
- A significant body of research links sexual objectification of women with violence against women
- Sexploitation venues pose a threat to women, with women reporting increased incidents of sexual harassment, abuse and violence in areas in close proximity to strip clubs
Another sexploitation event: Women treated as objects of sexual recreation at Adelaide Victory venue
[*Update: FFSA have replied. Their response is posted at the bottom of the article.]
A few weeks ago we wrote an article on SBS about a local South Australian soccer club hosting a men's night complete with strippers down at the club. The event sparked a lot of discussion on our Facebook page and in response we wrote this piece highlighting some of the main issues with a men's sporting club participating in the purchase of sexual services.
Only a matter of weeks later, we have learned about yet another South Australian club venue hosting a similar event - and they may have gotten away with it if the so-called 'Adult Entertainment' agency had not posted a photo from the night on Instagram, complete with the club's logo in the background.Read more
Gail Dines and Norma Ramos discuss sex trafficking on Boston Public Radio.
Gail Dines is professor of sociology at Wheelock College and Norma Ramos is the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
We were recently asked to comment on yet another strip club opening in Brisbane. The new club was dubbed 'Disneyland for men' due to the opening hours and number of staff. We were asked whether council should put a cap on the number of sex industry businesses operating in Qld. From Quest news:
"Certainly council needs to do something about capping or moving towards a society where we don't have women valued for their bodies and women bought and sold and harmed in this way,'' she said.Read more