Govt against bid to legalise sex industry: PM
By MATTHEW VARI
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has assured Parliament the government will not support the proposed bill to decriminalize prostitution in the country.
The bill, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by Member for Sumkar, Ken Fairweather, attracted concern from Member for Usino-Bundi Anton Yagama about the topic in the country that is considered a Christian one.
“As a Christian nation I understand there is a lot of talk surrounding prostitution. Bulk of our Papua New Guinean families are Christian families,” Mr Yagama said.
“We have proved that in PNG by placing the bible in this very chamber (parliament)- we pray every morning in this chamber to our God.
“And yet we talk about prostitution and to legalize it and whatever. Can the prime minister tell us what is the government’s position on this issue?”
Mr O’Neill reiterated the principles based on Christianity, however, did not refute the fact that the issue did exist in society.
“We do not condone these kinds of practices in the country, although, yes it is happening,” he said.
“I can assure you that the deliberation of the government members that is composed of a majority do not support this bill and the government will not support this bill.
“There are other means which we can protect these people who engage in this industry, there is no need for us to legalize prostitution in the country.”
Mr O’Neill then referred to the safety of individual in that industry was still protected just as any citizen under the Criminal Code.
“We have got enough laws under the Criminal Code and other laws that deal with issues like assault and abuse of individuals in the country,” he said.
“We do not need to have a specific law on the legalization of sex workers in the country. I also understand one of the reasons is that people involved in the industry are being targeted as suggested by the bill for carrying things like condoms around.
“I don’t necessarily believe that is true- a lot of people carry condoms because it promotes safe sex in our society.”
Mr O’Neill said the rationale behind the aspect of carrying condoms attracting undesired attention was not strong enough to deem the legislation needed.
“Average PapuaNew Guineans and average citizens all around the world engage in safe sex, they do carry condoms around and it does not need to be legislated to allow people to carry condoms around to be specifically protected by law,” he said.
“It is unnecessary and goes to the morality of our nation and of course goes against our principles as a Christian nation and that is why I do not believe that it is necessary for the government to support this bill.”