Sex work healthier – but not problem-free

NZ Herald May 13, 2010

Sex workers are safer, healthier and more willing to go to police since prostitution was decriminalised, but the stigma remains a problem, according to a book on the changing industry. The book, which draws on the views of 772 sex workers, suggests more changes are needed to discourage underage people from going into the industry, and raises concerns about the vulnerability of immigrants working illegally.

Taking the Crime Out of Sex Work provides compelling evidence that the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) has achieved the aim of improving the human rights of sex workers, says author Gillian Abel, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago’s Christchurch public health and general practice department. “Sex workers in New Zealand do recognise their increased rights under the PRA, but in some cases, stigmatisation has impeded the achievement of their rights,” the book’s conclusion reads.