In the same month that the Taliban in Afghanistan are forcing girls as young as ten-years-old to be ‘wives’ for their soldiers, Daniel Andrews has announced that he will move to decriminalise prostitution. As the Rev. Dr. Peter Barnes, the Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church, told AP: “The Taliban and Wokeness represent two different ways of enslaving women”.

This is because the result is ultimately the same in both situations. As Jasmine Yuen, the Victorian Coordinator for the Australian Christian Lobby argues

This is a backward step for the women, primarily, but also men, who have turned to prostitution because of poverty, homelessness and isolation. If women really choose prostitution, as the pro-prostitution lobby claims, why is it mostly disadvantaged and marginalised women who do?

Victoria must learn from NSW’s failed decriminalisation model. Their councils are now powerless to prevent illegal parlours opening anywhere, including near schools, learning centres and residential areas.

Note how similar the rhetoric is between Andrews and the Taliban. On the surface, both appeal to women’s rights while at the same time stripping them of their safety. The Australian included the following unedited transcript from the Taliban in their first press conference since seizing power:

The issue of women is very important. The Islamic Emirate is committed to the rights of women within the framework of sharia. Our sisters, our men have the same rights; they will be able to benefit from their rights. They can have activities in different sectors and different areas on the basis of our rules and regulations: educational, health and other areas. They are going to be working with us, shoulder to shoulder with us. The international community, if they have concerns, we would like to assure them that there’s not going to be any discrimination against women, but of course within the frameworks that we have. Our women are Muslim. They will also be happy to be living within our frameworks of sharia.

The rights of women must be protected. That is what the rule of law is there for. Unfortunately, though, the Premier of Victoria is following the recommendation of the former Sex Party (recently euphemistically rennamed, Reason Party MP, Fiona Patten, herself a former drug user and prostitute. Ross Fitzgerald—who was himself a former lead Senate candidate in NSW for ­Patten’s Australian Sex Party and himself writer of erotic fiction—explains Patten’s inordinate influence on Victorian politics as follows:

Although being a crossbencher often does not allow an MP to do much of consequence, since she was elected in late 2014 Patten has been the driving force behind Victoria’s new abortion laws, legalising voluntary assisted dying, introducing medically supervised injecting centres, legalising Uber, introducing online petitions to state parliament and initiating the largest parliamentary inquiry into drug law ­reform that Australia has seen.

This particular legislation must be opposed. For legally, there is always a better way. In this particular instance, it is to provide a way of exiting the cycle of prostitution and criminalise the sale of sex. Numerous other countries have done it. They include: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland, France, Ireland and Israel. It’s called the Nordic Model.

But there is an even better way still. And that is to treat women with dignity and respect and not see them as objects to be traded.