Regulating Sexually Orientated Businesses (29 May 2003)

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Dear Editor

Regulating sex shops, escort agencies and the like

Having presented and been an eyewitness to the Public Hearings on the "Land Use Management Proposals Pertaining to the Adult Entertainment Industry", it was great to see that of the twelve submissions made, eleven were outright Christian. Many of these presenters represented constituencies of 120,000 to 500,000. These eleven were diverse, ranging from a pastor's clear Biblical message, to a 18-year-old girl's emotional plea for interventions to rescue women and children trapped in the destructive sex industry, to presentations of scientific studies, to legal enquiries into how the Constitution, Film and Publications Act and other legislation could help protect our cities, to recommendations of international best practice.

All of these presentations were forward-looking, highlighting the inevitable secondary harmful effects that international experience proves goes hand in hand with Sexually Orientated Businesses (SOBs). These include increased crime (murder, rape and theft etc), problems for other businesses in the area (loss of customers, employees, increased running costs, insurance), decreased property prices, urban blight, loss of quality of life, loss of tourism, not to mention the hidden welfare costs, broken lives and families (current research indicates that divorce leads to a two to three year loss of productivity). Council seemed to agree that these harmful effects need to be limited by strict zoning, licensing and regulation of SOBs, just as it is controlled in cities around the world. Do our women and children need to be protected? Of course.

SWEAT was the only peripheral dissenting voice, advocating no restrictions on SOBs even to the point that sex shops and escort agencies etc may in "mixed use" residential areas, be right next to a school or place of worship and the community's rights to protect themselves must be denied by not allowing "consent use procedures" (public participation). See SWEAT's submission, p 4 para 6. A councillor asked them the question, "What limitations do you actually have? Could SOBs also rent space in a school building or old aged home?" Their ideology lacked any substance to refute these suggestions. Can anyone take SWEAT seriously?

Christianity, unlike any other worldview, has the strength to condemn injustice and wickedness and the compassion to reach out with the saving knowledge of Christ, as witnessed by accounts of successful Christian efforts to rehabilitate and integrate former prostitutes into mainstream society.

It was only the Christian community advocating the protection of women, children, property values, business, the economy, tourism and our beautiful city. Had they not presented, where would we be - stuck with SWEAT's loony free for all model?

Rob Mc Cafferty
Christian Action Network

 

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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