Critics have hit out at a reality TV show which is attracting young Australians to sell their virginity to the highest bidder.
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A number of people have signed up for the programme in which they will be given around £12,000 and up to 90 per cent of whatever their virginity sells for in an auction.
Director Justin Sisley has now taken his show to the US to avoid being charged with prostitution in Australia.
Australian Senator Steve Fielding, from the Family First political party, said the show’s content is clearly prostitution, and hoped that it would “never see the light of day”.
John Morissey from the Australian Family Association called the programme a “stunt”.
“Young kids think it’s harmless, and then years later it turns around and bites them”, he said.
Mr Morissey added: “This is the sort of thing that can surface later in the girl’s life, when she’s married with children, for instance.”
The programme, which has been described as “debauched” and “twisted” in press reports, will take place in a Nevada brothel.
One of the women involved, a 21-year-old called “Veronica”, claimed it was not prostitution.
“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.”
One of the young men involved, known as “John”, said he was willing to have sex with a male or female bidder.
“Money is a good incentive but I’m really more excited about the journey I’m about to go on,” he said.
Mr Sisely said he plans to have a face-to-face auction in the US state of Nevada with bidders in the same room as those auctioning off their virginity.
Advertising for ‘contestants’ attracted controversy last year when he showed a picture of the Virgin Mary and the slogan: “Virgins wanted”.
In October the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, criticised the glamorisation of prostitution as a “middle class trade” through its fictional portrayal on television.
Dr John Sentamu blamed books and television dramas such as ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which follows the life of its main character, Belle de Jour, a high-end prostitute.
“There is a myth that has been perpetuated in recent years, especially by sections within the liberal media, that many people who prostitute themselves do so not because they are oppressed or desperate for money, but because they see it as an easy way to make money through a relatively ‘safe’ and lucrative career”, Dr Sentamu wrote in The Sunday Times.