Prostitutes’ Collective responds to poll on banning street sex work

Photo: Getty.

A conservative Christian lobby group released a poll showing the majority of people believe councils should have the power to ban street prostitution in their local areas.

Catherine Healey, national coordinator of New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, joins Miles Davis on Summer Afternoon Talk to discuss the poll.

In the poll commissioned by Family First NZ, 76% said that local councils should have the ability to ban street prostitution in their local areas as they see appropriate.

“I think probably, [the poll is] on the money,” Ms Healey says.

“I would say that most people would have the unrealistic expectation that councils can fix it.”

In June 2003, New Zealand decriminalised sex work with the Prostitution Reform Act 2003.

Sex workers can determine their own work conditions in New Zealand. With the freedom to meet clients in a variety of settings, street workers are inevitable.

“We do generally have a very compliant, well behaved street worker population,” she says. “We do occasionally have a few who run by their own rules.”

Ms Healey explains that sex workers may work on the street for a number of reasons.  Some can’t find brothel work, don’t feel safe at their brothel, or face discrimination for being transgender.

“Sex work is one of those occupations where it’s got a fairly free spirit attached to it,” she says.

“It’s got a lot of stigma and discriminations attached to it as well.”

According to the Family First NZ press release, the group is “joining calls for a critical review of the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act, the criminalisation of the pimping and purchase of women for sexual purposes, and greater support for workers wishing to exit prostitution.”

Listen to the full interview with Catherine Healey above.

Summer Afternoon Talk with Miles Davis, weekdays from noon-3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.