‘Persuasion’ plan for prostitutes

Christchurch Press 7 Feb 2012
Public toilets, better street lighting and “gentle persuasion” could help solve prostitution issues in residential areas, a Christchurch City Council report says. Prostitutes have caused problems for Manchester St residents in the block between Bealey Ave and Edgeware Rd since moving into the area after last February’s earthquake. Police made 14 arrests last month in an operation targeting prostitutes and their associates after a string of complaints. Councillors last year asked council staff to work with police and the Prostitutes Collective to determine how they could move sex workers from residential areas. In a staff report, council solicitor Judith Cheyne said the organisations held a meeting on December 21 to discuss the problem. Police believed harsh enforcement action would jeopardise the “primarily good” relationship they had with street workers, Cheyne said. Instead, “gentle persuasion and other forms of encouragement” would be more likely to make the prostitutes return to their original location south of Bealey Ave. Additional street lighting in central-city Manchester St would help the prostitutes to feel safe, while installing public toilets in the area would also encourage them to move back, the report said.