Reining in the harlots

The Government is right to ignore the clamour to revisit our prostitution laws in the aftermath of a harlot’s murder in Christchurch.

The city council down there – would you believe? – has a prostitution bylaw subcommittee. It’s chaired by a Cr Sue Wells, who is bothered about the welfare of “stupid little girls trying it on” by prostituting themselves on Christchurch streets. She says they need to be brought under control. She also wants a national discussion about street workers because the Prostitution Reform Act, passed in 2003, did nothing to regulate street workers.

Her reasoning is that:

“As long as we have street work, street work is inherently dangerous.

“There are more controls over hairdressers than there are over prostitutes in New Zealand.”

But hold on. Climbing mountains is inherently dangerous. Parachuting is inherently dangerous.

And driving taxis is dangerous. There have been a couple of nasty incidents (one fatal) in recent times.

Afghan taxi drivers in Christchurch have met with transport officials to discuss policing and safety concerns following the murder of a fellow driver who was stabbed on the job 10 days ago (two men have been charged with his killing).

Anyway, as the unfortunate late John Rowe discovered, being a retired school teacher living in Opotiki has its dangers, too. Two teenage girls have been charged with his death. So where do we stop the regulating?

Just because something is inherently dangerous doesn’t mean we MPs must set about regulating it

Prostitutes’ Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy makes sense, philosophically observing it is virtually hopeless trying to enforce a ban on street workers.

If Sue Wells is unduly troubled by the goings-on in her city, I suggest she comes and lives in Eketahuna. But she’ll find there’s no place for her on the council bylaw subcommittee. We don’t have one. I haven’t spotted too many prostitutes on the streets of Eketahuna, either.

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