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02 June 2008 @ 03:25 pm
New Zealand releases 5 year review of Decriminalized Sex Work  
The Prostitution law review committee of the Ministry of Justice in NZ has recently released their 5 year review of the decriminalization of prostitution (.PDF HERE). They have some interesting findings, after what is now 5 years of legal prostitution:

Some quotes from the Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel:

“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,”

“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.”

Some other key findings about the 'myths' of Sex Work:

  • 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.

One more quote (this one actually from the study itself):

Oh I wish I could have. If I could find a really good job, I would leave in a second, that wouldn’t, like I said, discriminate me for what I am and be acceptive of like I am an employee, I’m not a trans-gendered person who they have to keep looking at funny. Yeah, I’m there to do the work. I will do the work and respect what’s been given to me or been told to me. But don’t just keep looking at me as like, “Oh she’s a trans-gender,” you know…I’ve been in so many jobs and you just hear it, you know. Um (.) and it’s just like I’m there just to work, you know, pay my bills and leave. I’m not there to basically put what I am on show or display for everybody, so yeah.
-- (Terri, Street, Transgender, Christchurch, CSOM, 2007)

For more information around please visit their website or ISBN 978-0-478-29052-7 Please help us spread the word, and end these myths forever!

x-posted on my personal blog, and www.swopusa.org