Black market brothels thriving in Hamilton

Waikato Times 10 Dec 2011
A Waikato Times investigation has uncovered Hamilton’s thriving illicit sex trade, with at least four black market brothels allegedly offering sex for money outside the law. Revelations that men are also paying for unprotected sex in unregulated brothels in the city have appalled public and sexual health experts, who are “hugely concerned”. Commercial sex industry sources say city and immigration authorities have failed to stop the sex trade, which they say includes women working here illegally. One man who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was offered unprotected sex at a Claudelands brothel, with the prostitute prepared to haggle when he refused the deal. He said there were no facilities for clients or sex workers to shower before sex, there were no towels or clean sheets, and workers offered unprotected sex for a premium. Times’ sources – including customers and legal brothel operators – have identified three other black market brothels, two in the central city and a fourth in nearby Frankton. City council staff have confirmed that in the past year they received complaints alleging seven motels, three commercial buildings and six houses were being used as brothels. They said their powers to investigate were limited and they relied on upfront warnings.

Black side of city’s sex industry
Waikato Times 10 Dec 2011
prostitution can be a lucrative occupation for some women, particularly those who work in the cash-only black market brothels, pay no tax and have few overheads. Some of the older ones are prepared to do more, despite the risks, to ensure they earn. One Hamilton brothel operator tells of a woman working illegally in the city who told them she had worked here for two years, and sent about $250,000 home to China. Hamilton City Council staff at the pointy end of the city’s 2004 Prostitution Bylaw, reviewed two years ago, say the council’s powers under the bylaw are limited by its obligations within the overarching prostitution reform and local government acts. As a result, the occupiers or owners of each site were spoken and written to by council, informing them of the city bylaw restricting brothels’ locations, staff say. They add that while no admissions were made concerning the allegations, “it was made clear to those people any such activity is not acceptable. They were left with a copy of the bylaw for reference”. The bylaw provides for fines up to $20,000, but no allegations have been substantiated. Council group legal officer James Carter says while the bylaw provided for prosecutions staff cannot legitimately undertake covert investigations to substantiate complaints.