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Policing Of Prostitution Endangering Sex Workers

Policing Of Prostitution Endangering Sex Workers - Greens

Green MP Sue Bradford will today ask Police Minister George Hawkins why police are raiding private premises used by sex workers when sex workers on the street are being attacked and murdered

Ms Bradford has been approached by an Auckland sex worker who along with two others was working as part of a collective in a private premise when it was raided by four police as part of a crackdown on unlicensed premises on January 19.

"I want the Minister of Police to explain why considerable police resources are being spent on raiding sex workers in safe, private premises at the same time as police are warning sex workers to stay at home due to the dangers of the streets," said Ms Bradford.

"There is an inherent contradiction here that is further endangering sex workers and it is precisely this type of contradiction that makes changing the law so urgent."

Ms Bradford said she wanted George Hawkins to take whatever action he could to put an immediate halt to further police raids on sex workers in private premises and to halt the harassment of sex workers generally, unless there was some real crime involved.

"Police routinely tell the country they are under-resourced, yet in the last month police have raided several homes in a crackdown on unlicensed massage parlours. Police need to decide whether their priority is the safety of the sex workers or the fine print of dangerous and outdated laws that are soon to be replaced.

"Many sex workers work from home to keep safe and off the streets and raids like these could easily have the effect of forcing women back onto the streets," said Ms Bradford.

"It is over-zealous and nit-picking policing like this which illustrates why the laws surrounding prostitution need to be changed as soon as possible and I urge all New Zealanders and members of Parliament to throw their support behind the Prostitution Law Reform Bill which is currently before the House."

One of the women who was raided on January 19 is prepared to talk to media on condition of anonymity.

Sue will be asking oral question number five on this issue during question time this afternoon.

Ends


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