Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Act helps health and safety of sex workers: report

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Food Safety,
Associate Minister of Justice, MP for Christchurch East

23 May 2008 Media Statement

Act helps health and safety of sex workers, report says

Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel today welcomed a report which shows the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) 2003 has had a positive effect on the health and safety of sex workers and has not led to a predicted increase in their numbers.

The Prostitution Law Reform Committee, chaired by former Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Fitzharris, was asked to report within five years of the decriminalisation of prostitution to assess the impact of the law change on the human rights, welfare, and occupational health and safety of sex workers, and the ban on the use of young people in prostitution.

Lianne Dalziel thanked the Committee for its work and said the report was valuable in putting balance and evidence into the debate around the decriminalisation of prostitution.

"The report indicates that the numbers have remained more or less the same since the Act came into force and that most sex workers are better off under the PRA than they were previously, which was the intention of the Act.

"There's no evidence of increased numbers of people being used in underage prostitution. In fact, the PRA has raised awareness of the problem," Lianne Dalziel said.

"The PRA has had a marked effect in safeguarding the rights of sex workers. Removing the taint of illegality has empowered sex workers by reducing the opportunity for coercion and exploitation."

The report says many of the perceptions held about the sex industry are based on stereotypes and a lack of information.

Lianne Dalziel said the report shatters several myths with the following findings:
• Coercion is not widespread.
• Sex workers are more likely to be the victims of crime, rather than offenders.
• The links between crime and prostitution are tenuous and the report found no evidence of a specific link between them. The link between under-aged prostitutes and youth gangs is often a case of underage people hanging around with friends who happen to be in youth gangs.
• The reasons people joined and stayed in the sex industry are complex, however money was the main reason.
• Fewer than 17 per cent said they are working to support drug or alcohol use, although when broken down by sector street-based sex workers are more likely to report needing to pay for drugs or alcohol (45 per cent).
• The perceived scale of a 'problem' in a community can be directly linked to the amount and tone of media coverage it gets.
• Much of the reporting on the numbers of sex workers and underage involvement in prostitution has been exaggerated.
• There is no link in New Zealand between the sex industry and human trafficking.

Lianne Dalziel said the government would consider the report's recommendations. The Committee doesn't think any further review of the operation of the PRA is necessary until 2018, 15 years after its enactment.

The other committee members are: Catherine Hannan, a Sister of Compassion; Debbie Baker of Streetreach, a confidential support service for those involved in prostitution; Matt Soeberg who has a background in public health policy; Sue Piper, a former Wellington City Councillor and chair of the Local Government Commission; Karen Ritchie, of the New Zealand Aids Foundation; Mary Brennan, a sexuality consultant and former brothel manager; Dr Sue Crengle, a specialist in General Practice and in Public Health Medicine; Catherine Healy, the National Coordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective; Lisa Waimarie, representing the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective; Dr Jan Jordan, a senior lecturer in Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington; and two former members: Alan Bell and Susan Martin, both who represented ECPAT NZ, a community organisation that works to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The report is available on the Ministry of Justice website: www.justice.govt.nz


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news