Dear Ms Kelly,
I am very concerned to hear that Westpac will be the senior financier for the so-called ‘Mega-sex-plex’ planned for Parramatta Road in Sydney.
Westpac’s website states that you “believe in respecting basic human rights in everything we [you] do.” However, prostitution is a violation of human rights. It represents a grave form of sexual exploitation and as such constitutes violence against women.
Prostituted women are overwhelmingly representative of economically and racially marginalised women. In most cases, prostitution is maintained by overt or covert force, economic disadvantage, marginalisation and manipulation. This can hardly be said to be true choice or the foundations for a legitimate industry.
As a customer, I was very alarmed to hear that my bank of almost ten years is to support the sex industry to the tune of $12.1 million. I was especially disappointed as I consider both you and Westpac to be leaders in gender equality in the corporate world.
Corporate social responsibility is crucial to my choices a consumer, so I will be seriously rethinking my relationship with your bank, as the active support of the degradation of women goes entirely against my beliefs.
Emily Walker is currently learning how to be a public servant up in Canberra. Last year she completed an honours thesis comparing Government responses and framing of prostitution in Australia and Sweden.