Prostitution reform has little effect

NZ Herald May 26, 2008

The number of sex workers in New Zealand does not appear to have increased since legislation decriminalising prostitution became law, according to a new report. The Prostitution Law Review Committee was set up to report on the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 three to five years after the act came into force. Its report, just published, was based on work carried out by the Christchurch School of Medicine and Victoria University’s Crime and Justice Research Centre. The committee, chaired by former Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Fitzharris, said an accurate count of the number of sex workers was difficult.

However, a comparison between the number of sex workers in Christchurch in 1999, before decriminalisation, and 2006 – after the act was passed – showed the total had stayed about the same. A 2007 estimate in five centres – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay and Nelson – found a total of 2332 sex workers, the committee said. Numbers of sex workers should continue to be monitored, it said.
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