Chch residents expect sex workers to return

Radio NZ News 27 November 2017
Family First Comment: “Residents were already gathering pictures of condoms and needles in their gardens, video of sex workers shouting as well as pictures of business transactions taking place in front of their homes.”
Poor families – having to put up with a flawed law and pathetic support from police and council.
Some Christchurch residents are dreading the summer as they expect street based sex workers to return to their neighbourhood.
Residents in St Albans, a suburb just north of the central city, said, for the last six years, they had been abused, they had seen sex workers engaged sex acts in their backyards and they frequently saw condoms and needles littered across the driveways.
Christchurch City Council had been grappling with how to deal with it, although last month it threw out a potential bylaw which would limit where sex workers could work, proposed by the residents and their lawyers.
The council believed enforcement would not be practical – instead they opted for a community-led working group, backed by the police and the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective.
But one resident, Matt Bonis, said he was sceptical it would change anything in the long run.
The next step
Christchurch City Council voted for a community working group last month, partly due to the impracticalities it saw with the legal-framework and enforcement of a bylaw.
But none of the sex workers RNZ spoke with said they had been spoken to by council staff, before it decided a community-based working group was the right approach.
RNZ put this to the council, who confirmed no staff had been deployed to Manchester Street to consult with the sex workers directly prior to the council vote.
The council’s head of strategic policy, Helen Beaumont, said there was no need to, as the focus was on the legal viability of a bylaw.
“No, we didn’t speak to the sex workers, we used the Prostitutes’ Collective as their sort of union,” she said. “They have a very good understanding of the situation for the sex workers on the street, so they were able to provide that perspective to us.”
Ms Beaumont said representatives from the working group would be sent out to Manchester Street in the coming weeks.
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