The Big Read: Residents' six-year battle to move sex workers from outside their Christchurch homes

NZ Herald 1 October 2017
Family First Comment: “Personally I am fed up being offered a blow job for $20 when I’m walking my dog at 6am in the morning,” Huntley said. “I’m fed up having to watch where my dog walks in case of needles. I’m fed up having prostitutes leering at me in my car to see if I’m a potential punter just when I drive to and from my home address, and I am right over them exposing their breasts, backsides and genitalia in broad daylight on some occasions when I have driven by ‐ I have to, I live here. I’m fed up having condoms dropped on the verge outside where I live, and am struggling to get the image out of my mind of the prostitute defecating in full view, one morning when I left for work.”
And NZ’ers are fed up with the politicians inaction and arrogance on this issue!
Matt Bonis thought his family had escaped the worst when the earthquakes hit. Their inner city Christchurch home stood up well in the violent shaking that wiped out large swathes of the eastern suburbs and felled much of the nearby central business district.

But as the aftershocks rumbled on, New Zealand’s greatest modern natural disaster brought with it an unexpected consequence for father-of-two Bonis and his St Albans neighbours. They suddenly found their normal, quiet suburban street turned into the nation’s second biggest city’s street sex trade epicentre.

Prostitutes, and their pimps, had for years plied their trade, often called the oldest profession in the world, on a seedy red light stretch of Manchester St, south of Bealey Ave inside the city’s old Four Avenues boundary.

The area was largely industrial and had become synonymous with sex workers. Every night after dusk, they could be seen – in all weather – tottering in high heels and short skirts enticing passing motorists to enquire within.

But when the quakes flattened the CBD, and an army-patrolled cordon kept the public away from potentially-dangerous buildings and falling masonry, the sex workers migrated north of Bealey Ave.

And for the last six years, they haven’t really moved. For Bonis and many residents of that Manchester St area around the corner of Purchas St, life has proved a living hell.

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