Australia May Jail ‘Traffickers’ of Adult Material

Joanne Cachapero
CANBERRA, New Zealand — In a move that the New Zealand Herald called “draconian,” legislation was introduced to the Australian Parliament that would allow anyone possessing more than five adult-oriented films or magazines to be arrested for “trafficking” and face up to two years in prison. The ban extends to persons possessing lesser amounts of explicit materials and any violation also will be punishable with fines.

“The Little Children Are Sacred’ report revealed the availability of pornography in Northern Territory communities as a factor contributing to child sexual abuse, being used to groom children for sex, and desensitizing children to violence and inappropriate sexual behavior,” Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough told Parliament.

This latest ban follows recent legislation by the Parliament in reaction to a government- commissioned study that stated child sexual abuse and prostitution was rampant among the indigenous communities of the Northern Territories of Australia.

The report, which came out in June, also spurred the Australian Commonwealth and Prime Minister John Howard to seize control of 60 indigenous communities located in the territories.

The ban on explicit materials includes X-rated movies, books and magazines that have been classified as Category 1 or 2 under the National Classification Codes which apply to various forms of media.

Those in possession of Category 1 material face a fine of up to $5,000 and Category 2 material can bring a fine of up to $11,000.

Anyone with five or more restricted items can be classified as a “trafficker,” and could face up to $20,000 in fines and a two-year prison term, whether or not the materials were intended for resale.

The bill also would prevent any prohibited material from being transported to the Northern Territories.

“This ban applies no matter where material is being sent from — from within the Northern Territory or from other parts of Australia such as the adult-DVD industry based in the Australian Capital Territory,” Brough said. “We have to stop material at its source by preventing mail order companies sending material into a community, as well as residents or visitors sending or taking material into a community.”

Other restrictions that have been placed on the indigenous communities include a ban on alcohol and tighter regulation of welfare assistance. In June, the Australian Broadcast Authority also banned mobile adult content , extending a ban originally aimed at the Northern Territories and Sydney-area.