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Prostitution Bill giant leap backwards for Manukau

7 December 2005

Prostitution Bill a giant leap backwards for Manukau

The Green Party is united in its opposition to the Manukau City (Control of Street Prostitution) Bill, expected to be voted on today, saying it flies in the face of recent positive steps forward.

Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says the Greens were the only party that supported the original Prostitution Reform Act as a party position, and, in accordance with the Green Women's Policy, will be taking the same stance on this Bill - at all stages of its process through the House, should it get past its first reading.

"The Bill flies in the face of the original PRA because it aims to prohibit prostitution in all public places in Manukau, allowing it to only take place in brothels. It will impose severe criminal sanctions on sex workers and their clients -for example, a sex worker and potential customer arranging a transaction in a pub would be made criminal by this Bill.

"The PRA decriminalises prostitution and we object to a local territorial body trying to reverse this. We also object to the council giving Police the authority to engage in entrapment exercises, such as pretending to be prostitutes and enticing customers.

"Manukau City Council is the author of its own misfortune when it comes to problems with street prostitution in the area. Instead of embracing the spirit of the PRA, Manukau City passed its own bylaw placing extreme restrictions on the placement of brothels in the city.

"The PRA aimed to reduce street prostitution by encouraging workers to operate out of safer, less publicly obtrusive situations, such as in both larger brothels and small owner-operated brothels. But Manukau's restrictive bylaw has meant many prostitutes have been unable to establish safe locations from which to work - and therefore remain on the streets.

"I would prefer sex workers to be able to locate themselves in safe places off the streets, out of the public gaze, and with the benefits of increased health and security - Manukau is being hoist on its own petard," Ms Bradford says.

"I call on the Manukau City Council to reverse this gross overreaction to a problem they've helped create and sustain. I urge them to embrace the spirit of the PRA, and review and amend their over-restrictive bylaw on brothel location. If they still have problems after that, they should get involved in the review process set up under Part 4 of the PRA - the mechanism by which ongoing difficulties can be resolved."

ENDS

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