The news of the arrest of Bradley Lester Grey was good news for the abolitionist movement in Australia.
Bradley Grey has worked in the adult entertainment industry for years. His arrest followed a police raid at the Moonlight Club. The court heard that Grey allegedly trafficked a woman into Australia and forced her to work as a prostitute in a Canberra brothel.
Grey has been charged with human trafficking, forced labour, breaking immigration law, as well as raping and committing an indecent act on the woman he is alleged to have trafficked. Mr Grey again fronted court on further rape charges on March 8, coincidentally International Women’s Day.
It is almost unimaginable that today there are over 45 million people trapped in some form of slavery. Our parliament is currently looking at introducing a modern slavery act to help tackle this modern day evil in Australia and around the world. This is good news.
The prosecutors in this case told the court that it is possible there are more victims but they are reluctant to speak out. They are frightened, as any one of us would be.
The trafficked and the vulnerable need champions.
Jesus taught us that we should treat others how we would want to be treated ourselves. Preying on the vulnerable is abhorrent. In this alleged case it seems to have once again been driven by the sexualisation of society and the commodification of women.
A major component of the Nordic approach is the empowering of women with options to exit the industry. Catherine A McKinnon, professor in law at Harvard and Michigan University poignantly reminds us: “If prostitution is a free choice, why are the women with the fewest choices most often found doing it”.
This is most true for trafficked women and children.
After suffering a trauma such as being trafficked I am not convinced that automatic detention is the best next step for anyone who has been trafficked. But the first step is to address the source of trafficking, the demand to purchase women.
It is time for all our parliaments to act on this, we clearly don’t want things to get worse.