A south Auckland community worker has backed calls for the
Government to clamp down on street prostitution.
Prime Minister John Key said today he didn't think
prostitution law reform had worked in New Zealand.
Now, a volunteer Pacific Community warden in the Mangere and
Papatoetoe areas says it's time to introduce specified
prostitution zones where workers would be issued with
licences to practice.
Kehi Moana Famitau says the amount of street prostitution in
south Auckland continues to rise, despite the introduction of
the Prostitution Law Reform Act in 2003 which aimed to slash
street prostitution and eliminate underage prostitutes.
Mr Famitau says the number of street prostitutes continues to
rise, with sex workers coming into the area from Hamilton and
as far away as Palmerston North and Christchurch.
"A couple of months ago there was one from Christchurch
wearing only a g-string and a tee shirt ... A few weeks ago
there were four from Tokoroa," he wrote in the November
edition of Street Stress, a newsletter authorised by
the Chairs of Otara-Papatoetoe, Mangere-Otahuhu and Manurewa
Local Boards of Auckland Council.
The three local boards want controls introduced to designate
where street prostitutes can and cannot solicit.
Earlier this month, the boards issued a joint letter to local
and regional authorities' bosses asking for their backing of
a bill before Parliament which aims to allow councils more
power to control street prostitution.
Mr Key today admitted the Prostitution Law Reform Act in 2003
had not succeeded.
"The argument was that it would eliminate all the street
workers and underage people, particularly girls, and the
reports that we see in places like south Auckland is that it
hasn't actually worked.
"I think it's been marginally successful, if at all," he told
While Mr Key said it was not a top priority issue for the
Government to address during its current term, he accepted
there was support for looking at street prostitution.
It was better to have prostitution occurring in a licensed
premise, such at the proposed Chow Brothers' 15-storey
brothel and hotel building in the Auckland CBD, than next to
a school or other residential areas, Mr Key said.
Mr Famitau, who is also a crime prevention officer at Hunters
Corner Papatoetoe shopping centre, says street prostitution
is getting out of hand.
He said workers will move away from shopping areas during the
day, but at night they don't listen.
"We have had three to four in the day time lately but on some
nights it builds up to between 20 and 30.
"I have recently seen one woman with a child and a few
intermediate school girls trying to get customers. Some are
only 12 or 13-years-old."
Mr Famitau said he has often raised the idea of providing
street workers with a special zone for trading, but they tell
him that this is their town and they are not breaking the
He said the traffic lights at Hunters Corner are useful in
slowing down traffic so the workers can offer their services
to people in cars.
"All the time we see them having sex, mainly behind the
buildings," Mr Famitau wrote in the newsletter.
He said he has seen prostitutes earning money at night and
later in the week, calling in for benefit payments.
And while some could be earning as much as $1000 a night,
- By Kurt Bayer and Kate Shuttleworth of APNZ