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Prostitution Petition Presented to Parliament

Prostitution Petition Presented to Parliament

The view of Aucklanders supporting an end to the Victorian practice of treating prostitutes like criminals gets an airing today, when Sue Bradford presents a petition to Parliament.

The Green MP today tables a petition signed by 974 members of the public, calling for the Prostitution Reform Bill to be passed into law. The petition says that people who work and are involved in the sex industry should be given the same rights and protections as those in any other industry.

The bill has its second reading in the House tomorrow. The petition was organised by the Prostitutes Collective in Auckland, with the collective's Auckland regional coordinator Kate Dickie the lead petitioner.

"We are keen to show that hundreds of members of the New Zealand public signed this petition showing their support for sex workers who face stigma, the threat of a criminal record and worse on a daily basis for their part in the world's oldest profession," Ms Bradford said.

"It is absolutely critical that MPs don't listen to some of the biased and moralistic propaganda around this bill," Ms Bradford said. "It is a conscience issue and MPs should look at the facts and consider the human rights of one of the most vulnerable groups of our society. I realise some people think this bill is anti-female, but the fact is that the women and men who go into prostitution are as deserving of the protection of society and the legislative system as anyone else.

"Under present law, prostitutes are forced into a form of criminal subculture, with all its attendant dangers. Health and safety are big issues, not just because of the risk of AIDS and other STDs but also because of a range of other dangers. "Decriminalisation would give sex workers the right to enter negotiations with employers not only over health and safety issues, but also over wages and conditions generally. And I hope we will also see a consequent culture shift in terms of acceptance that prostitutes can choose the terms on which they engage in sex.

"Coercion, abuse, rape and murder should no longer be the accepted parts of sex workers' lives," Ms Bradford said.

Both men and women have signed the petition.

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