Moving prostitutes off New Zealand streets is the only solution to the problems of prostitution – compromises will not work, said NZ First Party Spokesperson for Social Policy/Welfare and Manukau East Asenati Lole-Taylor in a media release on 31 July 2014.
Lole-Taylor failed to retain her seat in parliament at the recent election held on 20 September 2014, so her private member’s bill – Prostitution Reform (Control of Street Prostitution) Amendment Bill – which she submitted to the ballot while a List MP, will need to be re-submitted in the name of another MP, presumably one of the current 11 NZ First Party members, if it has any chance of ever reaching the select committee stage for consideration. It was not selected from the ballot while she was as MP.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and prohibit street prostitution in New Zealand. The Bill restricts the locations where the business of prostitution or commercial sex services may occur to licensed or small owner-operated brothels.
The health and safety benefits of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 have not accrued in the street prostitution sector, according to NZ First. Street-based prostitutes remain in danger of violence and adverse health effects. Street prostitution also impacts negatively on community pride and wellbeing through increased crime, anti-social behaviour, offensive and dangerous waste, and noise. Street prostitution remains the main gateway for underaged prostitution.
The Prostitution Law Review Committee in 2008 reported that street prostitutes should be encouraged to move indoors or leave the industry altogether. When the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 was enacted, it assumed street prostitution would diminish. This did not occur. Instead, street prostitution continues to grow in some communities and operates with little regard to local communities.
The business of prostitution is now legitimate in New Zealand and the Bill does not seek to decriminalise all forms of prostitution.
NZ First has been arguing consistently since early 2013 that while prostitutes and their customers have the legal right to carry on their business, local communities also have the right —
- to control offensive commercial trades in their public spaces:
- to address the source of crime and disorder in their town centres:
- to quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhoods.
The Society (SPCS) will be very interested to see whether or not the NZ First Party will follow through its commitments already made to tackle the problems of underaged prostitution and the public nuisance aspect of street soliciting, by promoting legislative changes (amendments to the Prostitution Reform Act 2003).
The Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, NZ First Party leader stated in a Radio Live column on 28 March 2013 in which he stated:
“Street prostitution is a thriving business – particularly in south Auckland and Christchurch – but it’s one that comes with a huge social and financial cost.
“Neighbourhoods are turned into battlegrounds where pimps and prostitutes pitch running battles in an effort to find the best soliciting spots to attract more customers.
“These turf wars lead to intimidating and threatening behaviour, acts of crime such as drug taking and dealing, and lewd acts being carried out in public places.
“The effect for people living in residential areas blighted by street prostitution is that they have become virtual prisoners in their own homes.
“But street prostitution also inflicts a heavy cost on the prostitutes themselves. Underage girls are coerced into the profession with the promise of making hundreds of dollars a night.
“Many prostitutes have major drug and alcohol dependency problems, as well as physical and mental health issues.
“Some are breaching immigration laws and working in the trade illegally.
“It is not a pretty picture but one that must be painted in order to find a viable solution. And through good work by New Zealand First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor, we have found a genuine way to deal with it.
“Our Prostitution Reform (Control of Street Prostitution) Amendment Bill would ban all street prostitution and confine sex work to brothels.
The growing problem with street prostitution makes it obvious why it should be banned but it’s perhaps not as clear why it should be restricted to brothels.
“Firstly, there are already regulations around the operation of licensed brothels which provides a safer environment for both prostitutes and their clients.
“Working girls in brothels can be more easily encouraged to have regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases, plus other transmissible diseases such as hepatitis.
“And it is much easier to tax prostitutes who work in brothels because a record of income must be kept by brothel owners.
“Our Member’s Bill hasn’t yet been drawn from the ballot but that hasn’t stopped it gaining widespread media attention, and support from many sectors of society.
“All those in Auckland concerned with street prostitution would be best advised to turn up at the Street Prostitution Forum at the Papatoetoe Sports Centre on Sutton Crescent from 10am on Saturday April 6.
“It presents a gilt-edged opportunity for you to be involved in the debate. We look forward to seeing you there.”
Financial and Social Cost of Street Prostitution – Radio Column. 28 March 2013
No Compromise on Street Prostitution. 31 July 2013
Prostitution Reform (Control of Street Prostitution) Amendment Bill
Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (May 2008):
Ministry of Justice: Review of Street-Based Prostitution in Manukau City (April 2009):
The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. opposed the bill that led to the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. A summary of its views at the time can be found here: LINK – The Prostitution Reform Bill