NZ sex industry under attack

New Zealand’s sex industry model ‘as useful as a burst condom’
Stuff co.nz 15 October 2017
Family First Comment: Highlighting the failures of flawed lawmaking by politicians….
“Among the failures of the New Zealand system in removing abuse, exploitation and trafficking, she lists: convictions for under-age workers exploited foreign workers, a problem acknowledged within the industry, and a 2004 US State Department report that called New Zealand “a trafficking destination country”.Bindel advocates for the Nordic model, which criminalises brothels and sex buyers, but not prostitutes. Implemented in Norway, Sweden and France, under such a model prostitutes are offered “a way out” through health services, she says. “There’s a possibility of a world without prostitution, prostitution does not have to exist, it benefits no-one but the abuser and the profiteers.”
And
“”I never had someone say, ‘I paid for your body, and I can do what I want’, until decriminalisation. That’s putting power in the hands of the business pimps. You can see this across every brothel in New Zealand.”

Prostitutes raised red umbrellas in celebration of New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective entering its third decade on Thursday.

Speeches were made, and stories shared among a crowd of a hundred at Wellington’s Southern Cross bar, before the umbrellas – a symbol of sex work – were lifted for a photo opportunity.

But a new book, highly critical of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC), issued a warning to the world this week: the New Zealand model is “as useful as a burst condom”.

The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth, released in New Zealand on October 11, describes an abusive industry left unchecked by absent government agencies.

Author Julie Bindel, a combative radical feminist from England, and former New Zealand sex worker Sabrinna Valisce have been making international headlines with their scathing critique and tales of abuse.

Speaking from Bergen, Norway, the morning after a book launch, Bindel says her work is a grassroots, investigative expose of legitimised sex work around the world.

A prostitution abolitionist, she uses words unlike those used in New Zealand’s sex industry.

It’s not sex workers or prostitutes; it’s “prostituted women”. Brothel owners are pimps or abusers, no bones about it. Johns or sex buyers aren’t always punters; they’re also abusers.

And the service provided by women in the sex industry is spoken of in violent terms.

“Sex for a woman, when you don’t want it – in any orifice – is a horrible experience, even when we’re not describing it as rape. Calling it work, and doing it over and over again in one day, is a form of torture.”

In researching the book, Bindel visited New Zealand in April 2016 and spoke to eight sex workers, two in brothels and four on the street.

The book recounts the stories of five; Nicky, unwillingly penetrated with a bottle; Ne’Cole, gang-raped while working the street at 15-years-old; Chelsea, who describes brothel owners as abusive pimps; Lisa, a 50-something street worker using a walking frame, disabled after a life in prostitution; and Sabrinna Valisce.

Bindel takes particular issue with the application form for opening a brothel in New Zealand, said to be just two pages long (it’s actually three) and shorter than the adoption form at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.

And when the brothels open, no-one checks in. Official Information Act data is referenced, but not provided, in the book, which shows only 23 brothel inspections took place between the 2003 reform and January 2015.

“The framework for regulation does exist, as we shall see, but it’s about as useful as a burst condom,” she writes.

Among the failures of the New Zealand system in removing abuse, exploitation and trafficking, she lists: convictions for under-age workers exploited foreign workers, a problem acknowledged within the industry, and a 2004 US State Department report that called New Zealand “a trafficking destination country”.

Bindel advocates for the Nordic model, which criminalises brothels and sex buyers, but not prostitutes. Implemented in Norway, Sweden and France, under such a model prostitutes are offered “a way out” through health services, she says.

“There’s a possibility of a world without prostitution, prostitution does not have to exist, it benefits no-one but the abuser and the profiteers.”

Former New Zealand sex worker Sabrinna Valisce, who provides evidence in Bindel’s book, was in Edinburgh this month meeting Scottish MPs currently considering the Nordic model.

Valisce declined to share her personal experiences and horror stories as a sex worker in New Zealand.

This much is known from Bindel’s work: Valisce came to New Zealand at 14-years-old and after being offered $100 for sex while wearing her school uniform one afternoon, she found herself on the streets selling sex to survive.

Decades of sex work and involvement with the NZPC followed, but Valisce recounts few positive changes from the legislation. After moving to Australia in 2011, she realised the horrors of the industry she had been subject to.

Valisce is now critical of the NZPC and says it will never be effective in removing abuse and exploitation. Bindel quotes sex worker Chelsea, who says the NZPC is in denial about an expanding industry and offers only “propaganda” in its information packs.

“I never had someone say, ‘I paid for your body, and I can do what I want’, until decriminalisation. That’s putting power in the hands of the business pimps. You can see this across every brothel in New Zealand.”

This is disputed by those in the industry, but there’s no disagreement about one thing: you can’t legislate away the stigma.

Sex industry sources like brothel owners and workers readily admit the legalised sex business isn’t without its problems.

Of the workers, there are tales of threats and violence, but there’s a point of difference. Before decriminalisation, the threat of violence would linger. Now, if you have a problem, the police are there to help.

Problems with drug addiction, illegal under-age and foreign sex workers, and bad operators are just that: problems. They’re not problems that just lie with this industry, and they’re for agencies such as Immigration New Zealand to deal with.

Brothel owners notice the few inspections and say more are warranted to weed out bad operators who bend the rules.

The industry has moved on since the 2003 reform rewrote the prostitution playbook, and according to some, it’s ready to evolve again.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/97760559/New-Zealands-sex-industry-model-as-useful-as-a-burst-condom?cid=app-iPhone
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