Aussie Filmaker’s ‘Virgin Auction’ Generates Outrage, Faces Legal Obstacles

Not in our backyard: that’s the message that horrified Australian officials have sent to a Melbourne filmmaker who intends to film a documentary involving young people auctioning of their virginity to the highest bidder. However, even amid plans to move his venue to Nevada, there is a strong chance that US officials could intervene to put an end to a scheme that has generated revulsion on both sides of the Pacific.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph reports that Aussie filmmaker Justin Sisley first solicited virgins for a reality TV show he wanted to produce in Sydney, with blasphemous posters featuring an image the Virgin Mary saying: “Virgins Wanted, $20,000 ea.”

Those currently signed up for the show are actually Sisley’s second batch of applicants, because the first set selected last year decided to walk out of the auction process. Sisley admitted to the Telegraph that his project is not popular with the youths’ parents, adding, “they hate me.”

One female, Veronica, a Sydney waitress, told the Telegraph that she had signed up for the auction because she wanted to earn money, but did not think of herself as a prostitute.

“Technically I’m selling my virginity for money, technically that would be classified as prostitution, but it’s not going to be a regular thing, so in my head I can justify that I’m not going to be a prostitute,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll regret it.”

However, government officials in Victoria view the selling of sex for money as not only technical, but obvious prostitution, and have expressed an intention to stop Sisley from carrying out his sordid plan on Australian soil. The government of Victoria vowed to charge Sisley with prostitution if he holds and films the made-for-TV “virgin auction” in Australia.

Australian pro-family Senator Steve Fielding denounced Sisley’s plan, calling it “absurd, ridiculous and disgusting.”

Sisley has decided he would switch venues – to the United States, specifically Nevada, where some rural counties have legalized brothels. But he may face legal problems there as well.

Sisely plans to pay each virgin $20,000 in addition to 90 per cent of the final auction bid. The leftover cash will go to the Nevada brothel hosting a face-to-face auction that follows an initial online auction, in a two-step bidding process.

However, the Las Vegas Sun reports that US officials are likely to put the kibosh on Sisely, because federal law prohibits the transfer of women across state lines for selling sex.

George Flint, a lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, told the Sun that because of the federal Mann Act, Sisley “could be walking into real trouble.”

The Sun also reported that Sisely’s brothel would be prohibited from advertising the event in Las Vegas, Reno, and other places where prostitution is banned, under two Nevada laws that were recently upheld by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

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  • plowshare

    With same-sex marriage so widely accepted that Laura Bush thinks it’s only a matter of time for it to triumph, it may be that this auction is only a little too far ahead of the times to gain acceptance.

    I hope I am wrong, and that it is possible to get public awareness solidly behind drawing a line in the sand with prostitution on the other side. How to go about promoting this awareness is the big question.

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