2008 Report on Prostitution Reform Act 2003

Report of the Prostitution

Law Review Committee on

the Operation of the

Prostitution Reform Act 2003

 

WO Crown Copyright

Published May 2008
Ministry of justice
P0 Box 180
Wellington
New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-478-29052-7

Disclaimer
The views, opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are
strictly those of the author/s. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ministry ofJustice.
The Ministry ofJustice takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in,
or for the correctness of, the information contained in this publication.

 

Foreword

This report is the culmination of five years work of a Committee that first met on 24 March 2004, with few of us knowing each other prior to that lime. We were nominated because of our specialist knowledge by the Ministers of Justice, Health, Police, Commerce, Local Government and Women's Affairs (in consultation with the Minister of Youth Affairs) and the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective. The Committee comprised a nun, sex workers, brothel operators, a general practitioner, an academic, a city councillor, a criminologist, a public health official, social workers, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and a retired policeman. These seem like an unlikely combination of people discussing an issue as highly charged as prostitution. With such diverse backgrounds, and perhaps differing agendas, it may have been difficult for any sense of cohesion and agreement to have emerged in our discussions.

However, the basis for working collaboratively was established through concentrating our efforts on the human rights, welfare, occupational health and safety of sex workers, and the prohibition of the use of young persons in prostitution - that is, the 'purpose' of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA). This collaboration was achieved through deliberately not focussing on the political or moral aspects of the sex industry, as is frequently done by those advocates for and against its decriminalisation. We recognised that the legislation was a shift from a moralist approach to prostitution to a health and human rights approach. It was stipulated early in our deliberations that, as much as possible, our report should be substantiated through evidence-based research. This approach brought a disparate Committee together to do real work, and over time form bonds that made the Committee work effectively. Although we did not all agree all the time on various aspects of our work, all Committee members were able to work together professionally to achieve this report.

We were supported in this regard by officials from the Ministry of Justice who at times pulled us up to ensure the maintenance of evidence-based discussions. We restrained ourselves from responding to what, at times, were provocative statements in the media. We suspected such comments were gross exaggeration and hyperbole; some were certainly uninformed comments, especially in the early days of the life of this legislation. We were determined not to make any statements until we had the benefit of all the research that we had commissioned.

The Committee fulfilled the first of its statutory purposes, to assess the number of sex workers in New Zealand at the time of decriminalisation through the release of its first report, The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand- An Estimation, in 2005.

The Committee was required to wait until three years had elapsed from the commencement of the PRA (Section 42(1)(b)) before conducting the research and other work to inform this report. The major influence of our methodology was determined by the work of Dr Elaine Mossman of the Crime and Justice Research Centre of Victoria University through her Evaluation Framework for the review of the PRA. Three major phases of research and work were the foundation of this report.

  • The Impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the Health and Safetji Practices of Sex Workers by the Department of Public Health and General Practice, University of Otago, Christchurch. This study included a survey of 772 sex workers.
  • Key informant interviews with NGOs, brothel operators and community groups and a literature review of overseas models of prostitution law reform by the Crime and Justice Research Centre of Victoria University.

 

  • Gathering of information from government agencies and local authorities by the Ministry of Justice.

The Committee is aware that during the period research was conducted for this report the New Zealand economy was performing well and unemployment was at record lows. It is not known what impact these factors may have had on the nature of the sex industry.

This report reflects the detailed research undertaken, as well as the Committee's collective experience. We are confident this comprehensive report offers practical recommendations to the Government and the public about prostitution issues.

 

Acknowledgements

The process of gathering information for and writing the Committee's report has involved many people. The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved throughout the last five years work. The Committee wishes to acknowledge the support provided by Ministry of Justice officials, in particular, Victoria Crawford, Jo Gascoigne, Carey Hibbert, Angela Lee, Lisette Nolan, Chelly Walton, Fiona Jackson, Rebecca Crowe, Carrie Gage, and Sue Easthope. Support was also provided by contractors Vivienne Morrell, Judith Spier, and Martin Lee.

This report would not have been possible without the work of researchers from Otago University's Christchurch School of Medicine: Gillian Abel, Dr Lisa Fitzgerald, and Cheryl Brunton, and from Victoria University's Crime and Justice Research Centre: Dr Elaine Mossman and Pat Mayhew.

The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective also provided invaluable information for this review. The Committee wishes to thank Calum Bennachie for undertaking the advertisement audits. The Committee also wishes to thank Calum, Annah Pickering and Anna Reed for arranging for the Committee to view brothels, and the brothel operators who allowed the Committee to visit their businesses.

The Committee also wishes to acknowledge the input of government agencies. This report has benefited from information supplied by the Ministries of Justice, Health, Social Development, Youth Development, and Women's Affairs, the Department of Labour, Inland Revenue, and the New Zealand Police. Local Government New Zealand provided invaluable assistance in canvassing the views of territorial authorities. The Committee wishes to thank all the territorial authorities who provided feedback on the impact of the PRA.

The Committee also received submissions from interested organisations and members of the public, including a petition presented via the Justice and Electoral Committee. The Committee considered all the points made by these submitters and would like to thank them for their input.

 

Table of Contents

Foreword                                                                                                                                  3

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                   5

Table of Contents                                                                                                                      6

List of Tables                                                                                                                           11

Executive Summary                                                                                                               13

  1. Introduction 21

1.1                               Legal Situation Prior to the PRA                                                                                                        21

1.2                The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA)                                                                                        22

1.2.1 Passage of the PRA                                                                                   22

1.3                               Purpose and Main Features of the PRA                                                                                         22

1.3.1 Prohibitions on Use in Prostitution of Persons Under 18 Years         22

1.3.2 Health and Safety Requirements                                                             23

1.3.3 Small Owner-Operated Brothels                                                              23

1.3.4 Brothel Operator Certification System                                                    23

1.3.5 Territorial Authorities May Make Bylaws                                               23

1.4                               Review of the PRA                                                                                                                                   24

1.4.1 The Committee Process                                                                            24

1.4.2 Statutory Purpose                                                                                    24

1.4.3 Additional Matters Considered                                                                24

1.5                               Report Based on Research                                                                                                                   25

1.5.1 University of Otago's Christchurch School of Medicine                        25

1.5.2 Victoria University's Crime and Justice Research Centre                                                26

1.5.3 Other Research Used                                                                                27

1.5.4 Ministry of Justice                                                                                    27

  1. Estimation of the Numbers of Sex Workers in New Zealand 29

2.1       Introduction                                                                                                                                              29

2.1.1 Caution Regarding Estimates                                                                  29

  2.2               Baseline Data From the Committee's First Report                                                                       30

2.2.1 Survey of New Zealand Police                                                                 30

2.2.2 First Advertisement Audit                                                                        31

  2.3                               Recent Estimates of the Numbers of Sex Workers in New Zealand                                       32

2.3.1 Estimation of Numbers of Sex Workers                                                 32

2.3.2 2007 Re-estimation                                                                                  34

2.3.3 Auckland Results                                                                                     34

2.3.4 Comparison with 1999 Christchurch Study                                                                      35

2.4       Further Advertisement Audits                                                                                                            35

  2.5                Advertisements for Vacancies                                                                                                              38

  2.6                Changes in the Sex Industry Since Decriminalisation                                                                39

2.6.1                 Advertising Practices                                                                                                            39

2.6.2 Technology                                                                                                39

2.6.3 Decriminalisation as a Reason for Entering the Sex Industry                                       39

2.6.4 Claims that Numbers Have Increased                                                    40

2.7       Committee's Conclusion                                                                                                                        40

3 The PRA and Human Rights                                                                                           43

3.1               International Conventions                                                                                                                     43

3.1.1 Case Law                                                                                                    44

3.1.2 Sex Workers' Perceptions                                                                         44

6

 

3.2                   Right for :\dults Not to be Forced to Engage in Sex Work                                  45

4 Health, Safety and Well-being                                                                      49

4.1                                         General Health of Sex Workers                                                                                                               49

4.1.1         Safer Sex                                                                                                  50

4.2                   Occupational Health and Safety Requirements and Rights                                  51

4.2.1 Knowledge of OSH Requirements and Rights                                             51

4.2.2 Adherence to OSH Requirements                                                                53

4.3                                         General Safety of Sex Workers                                                                                                                55

Avoiding or Exiting the Sex Industry                                                                               61

5.1        Introduction                                                                                                         61

5.2                   Reasons for Entering and Remaining in the Sex Industry                                     61

5.2.1 Entering the Sex Industry                                                                             61

5.2.2 Expected Length of Stay in the Sex Industry                                                64

5.2.3 Taking 'Breaks' from the Industry                                                                 66

5.2.4 Remaining in the Sex Industry                                                                      67

5.3        Impact of the PRA on Exiting                                                                                                                 69

5.4                 Exiting the Sex Industry                                                                                                                            70

5.4.1 Sex Workers Who Do Not Wish to Exit                                                       70

5.4.2 Sex Workers Who Want to Exit                                                                    73

5.4.3 Reasons for Wishing to Exit                                                                         73

5.4.4 Barriers to Exiting                                                                                         75

5.5                   Best Practice for Exiting                                                                                                                            77

5.5.1 Holistic Approach                                                                                         78

5.5.2 Dealing with Changes of Mind                                                                      79

5.5.3 Facilitating Free Choice                                                                                79

5.5.4 Dedicated Services and 'Brokerage'                                                              79

5.5.5 Building Trusting Relationships                                                                    79

5.5.6 Adequate Resourcing                                                                                    79

5.5.7 Public Education                                                                                          80

5.5.8 Outreach                                                                                                       80

5.5.9 Location of Services                                                                                     80

5.6       Support for Those Who Wish to Exit Currently Available                                   81

6 The Brothel Operator Certification System                                                                        85

6.1        Introduction                                                                                                          85

6.1.1 Rationale Behind the System                                                                        85

6.2                                         How the System Operates                                                                                                                        86

6.2.1 Who Requires a Certificate?                                                                          86

6.2.2 The Application Procedure                                                                           87

6.2.4 Penalties                                                                                                       89

6.2.5 Register of Brothel Operators                                                                       89

6.2.6 Licences Required under Local Bylaws                                                         89

6.3                                         Victoria's Brothel Licensing Regime                                                                     90

6.3.1 How Victoria's Regime Operates                                                                  90

6.3.2 Criticism of the Victorian Licensing Regime                                                 90

6.4                   The New Zealand Certification System                                                                91

6.4.1 Information From Brothel Operators                                                           91

6.4.2 Small Owner-Operated Brothels                                                                  91

6.4.4 Brothel Operators' Comments on Inspections                                              93

6.4.5 Numbers of Operator Certificates Issued                                                     93

6.5                                         Does the Current System Work?                                                                                                             93

6.6                   The Way Forward                                                                                                 94

6.6.1 Who Should Require a Certificate?                                                               94

 

6.6.2 Who Should be Eligible for a Certificate?                                                     94

6.6.3 Information Should be Provided when Certificates Issued                           94

6.6.4 Should Certificates be Linked to Businesses?                                               95

6.6.5         Period of Certification Validity                                                                96

6.6.6 Administration of the Certification System                                                  96

6.6.7 Brothel Inspections                                                                                      96

6.6.8 Amendment to the PRA                                                                               97

6.7                   Recommendations                                                                                                97

7 The Use of Under Age People in Prostitution                                                                  99

7.1        Introduction                                                                                                          99

7.2        The Threshold for Providing Commercial Sexual Services                                   99

7.3        International Legislation                                                                                     100

7.4                   The Nature of Under Age Prostitution                                                               101

7.4.1 The Number of Under Age People Used in Prostitution in New Zealand101

7.5        Street-Based Under Age Prostitution                                                                  102

7.6                   Reasons for Under Age Involvement in Prostitution                                          103

7.7                                        Harm Done                                                                                                         104

7.8                   Prosecutions and Convictions                                                                             105

7.8.1 Difference Between the Crimes Act Offence and the PRA Offences 105
7.8.2 Charges Under Sections 20 - 22 of the PRA                                               105

7.9        Sentences Under Sections 20 - 23 of the PRA                                                    107

7.10 Role of Police                                                                                                          109

7.11 Social Support for Young People Involved in Under Age Prostitution                    111

7.11.1 Non-Governmental Social Support                                                          111

7.11.2 Government Programmes                                                                         111

7.12 Options                                                                                                                   112

7.12.1 Amending the PRA                                                                                   112

7.12.2 Amending the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 113

7.12.3 Changes to the Independent Youth Benefit                                             113

7.12.4 Social Support and a Multi-Agency Approach                                          114

[] Street-Based Sex Workers                                                                                                117

8.1        Introduction                                                                                                        117

8.1.2                Historical Perspective                                                                                                             117

8.2                   The Nature of Street-Based Sex Work                                                                118

8.2.1 Numbers                                                                                                     118

8.3                   Reasons for Working on the Streets                                                                    119

8.3.1 A Matter of Choice or Circumstance                                                          119

8.3.2 Demographic Factors                                                                                 120

8.4        Impact of the PRA on Street-Based Sex Workers                                               121

8.4.1                Role of Police                                                                                                                           121

8.5        Is There a Problem?                                                                                                                                 122

8.5.1 The 'Problem' of Street Work for Sex Workers                                           122

8.5.2 Christchurch Murders                                                                                 122

8.5.3 Drugs and Alcohol                                                                                      123

8.5.4 Access to Health Services                                                                          123

8.5.5 Social Marginalisation                                                                                 123

8.6                                        Objections to Street-Based Sex Work                                                                 124

8.6.1         Social Nuisance                                                                                                                       124

8.6.2 Means Available to Deal with Social Nuisance                                          125

8.7                                        Options                                                                                                               125

8.7.1 Local Government Initiatives                                                                     125

8.8        International Experience                                                                                                                        126

 

8.8.1       British Approaches: Targeting Kerb-Crawlers and Anti-Social Behaviour

Orders 127

8.8.2 The Swedish Model: Prohibition of Purchase                                             127

8.8.3 Safe-House Brothels in Sydney                                                                   128

8.8.4 Dutch Tolerance Zones                                                                              129

8.9       Support Strategies                                                                                                                                    129

8.10 Why Legislation is Not the Answer                                                                        130

8.11 PLRC Position on Street-Based Sex Work                                                             131

8.11.1 Street Workers Should be Supported to Work Safely and with Consideration for Local Communities                                                                                                         131
8.11.2 Street Workers Should be Encouraged to Stop Working on the Streets 132 8.11.3 Legislative Approaches to Problems Associated with Street-Based Sex

Work Should be Avoided                                                                                                                        132

8.11.4 Local Government Should Adopt Practical Solutions                              132

9 Response of Territorial Authorities to the PRA                                                                135

9.1        Introduction                                                                                                        135

9.2        Local Government                                                                                                                                  135

9.2.1 Introduction to Local Government in New Zealand                                  135

9.3                   Role of Territorial Authorities under the PRA                                                    136

9.4                   Results of Questionnaire                                                                                                                         137

9.5                                         Other Mechanisms Available to Territorial Authorities                                      139

9.5.1 The Local Government Act 2002                                                               139

9.5.2 'Soliciting and Touting'                                                                               140

9.5.3 The Carterton and Queenstown Bylaws                                                     140

9.5.4 The Resource Management Act 1991                                                         140

9.5.5 The Health Act 1956                                                                                  141

9.5.6 Non-PRA Bylaws, Other Statutes and Non-Legislative Responses              141

9.6                   Local Government's Approach to Small Owner-Operated Brothels                   142

9.7                   Legal Challenges to Bylaws Regulating the Sex Industry                                    143

9.8        Should the PRA's Bylaw Making Power be Amended?                                       146

9.9                   The Manukau City Council's Concerns About Street-Based Sex Work               146

10 Employment Conditions                                                                                                   151

10.1        Introduction                                                                                                       151

10.2 The Sex Industry Prior to 2003                                                                              151

10.3 Employment Rights After Decriminalisation                                                          152

10.3.1 The Status of the Sex Industry                                                                  152

10.3.2 Fines, Bonds and Fees                                                                              153

10.4 Employment Status of Sex Workers                                                                       155

10.5 Employment Contracts in the Sex Industry                                                            157

10.6 The Formalisation of Employment Relationships                                                  158

10.7 Next Steps                                                                                                              159

11 Common Misconceptions About Prostitution                                                                     163

11.1              Coercion                                                                                                             163

11.2 Links with Crime and Gangs                                                                                  163

11.3 Drug Use                                                                                                                164

11.4 Media Influence on Public Perception                                                                    164

12 Invisibility of Clients                                                                                                      165

12.1 Who Buys Sex?                                                                                                       165

12.2 Why Men Buy Sex                                                                                                  165

12.3 Criminalising Clients                                                                                               166

13 Trafficking                                                                                                                          167

14 Conclusion and Future Review                                                                                      168

References                                                                                                                             169

Appendix 1                                                                                                                            174

Prostitution Law Review Committee Members                                                               174

Appendix 2                                                                                                                            177

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations                                                                            177

 

List of Tables

Table 1 Numbers of Sex Workers by Police District and Sector of Sex Industry, Prostitution

Law Review Committee, 2005                                                                                                              31

Table 2 Estimation of Numbers of Sex Workers in Five Areas of New Zealand in

February/March 2006                                                                                                                           33
Table 3 Re-estimation of Numbers of Sex Workers in Five Areas of New Zealand in June -

October 2007                                                                                                                                             34

Table 4          Estimations of Sex Workers in Christchurch in May 1999 and February 2006              35

Table 5 Wellington Commercial Sexual Services Advertisements 2003 - 2007 by Source 36

Table 6          Wellington Commercial Sexual Services Advertisements 2003 - 2007 by Type                37

Table 7 Auckland Commercial Sexual Services Advertisements 2003 - 2007 by Source 37

Table 8          Auckland Commercial Sexual Services Advertisements 2003 - 2007 by Type                 38

Table 9          Sex Workers' Perceptions of Rights Under the Act by Sector                                                   44

Table 10 Ability to Refuse Clients in Last 12 Months by Sector                                     46

Table 11 Adverse Experiences while Working in the Last 12 Months by Sector            56

Table 12 Reasons for Entry into Sex Work in Each Sector                                              63

Table 13 Expected Length of Stay in the Sex Industry by Years of Working in the Industry.65

Table 14 Breaks from Sex Work in Each Sector                                                                66

Table 15 Reasons for Staying in the Sex Industry in Each Sector                                  68

Table 16 Perceived Benefits of Sex Work by Sector                                                          72

Table 17 Pathways to Exiting (Sanders, 2007)                                                                  75

Table 18 Sector of Original Employment by Sector of Current Employment in the Sex

Industry                                                                                                                                                       76

Table 19 Summary of Best Practice Principles for Exiting Interventions                        78

Table 20 Numbers of Charges Brought Under Sections 20 -22 of the PRA, by Outcome and

Offence, 27 June 2003 —31 March 2008                                                                                  106
Table 21 Number of Disposed Charges Brought Under Sections 20-22 of the PRA by District

Court, 27 June 2003 —31 March 2008                                                                                      107
Table 22 Sentence Types Imposed for Convicted Charges Laid Under Sections 20 - 22 of the

PRA, by Offence, 27 June 2003 to 31 March 2008                                                                108
Table 23 Custodial Sentences Imposed Under Sections 20-22 of the PRA, by Case, 27 June

2003 to 30 November 2007                                                                                                              108

 

Executive Summary

Introduction

This report presents the Prostitution Law Review Committee's (the Committee) review of the operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) three to five years after the Act's commencement, in June 2003. The purpose of the PRA was to decriminalise prostitution (while not endorsing or morally sanctioning prostitution or its use); create a framework to safeguard the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation; promote the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers; contribute to public health; and prohibit the use in prostitution of persons under 18 years of age. The PRA also established a certification regime for brothel operators. This report fulfils the Committee's obligations to report on specific matters and make recommendations to the Minister of Justice on its findings.

The Committee's report is research based and draws heavily on the work of the Christchurch School of Medicine (CSOM) and Victoria University's Crime and Justice Research Centre (CJRC). The CSOM and CJRC reports are available on the Ministry of Justice website: www.Justice.govt.nz.

Estimation of the Number of Sex Workers in New Zealand

Baseline estimates of the size of the sex industry were provided in the Committee's first report, The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand: An Estimation (2005). To the extent possible, the baseline data is compared with more recent estimates carried out for this report. However, caution must be applied to any estimate of the numbers of people involved in the sex industry. Direct comparisons between pre- and post-decriminalisation figures are possible only for Christchurch where an estimation using comparable methods was undertaken in 1999 (CSOM, 2007).

In the Committee's first report it was estimated that there were 5,932 sex workers in New Zealand. The current report estimates the number of sex workers to be 2,332 in the areas included in the study. The Committee does not consider that this means the numbers of sex workers in New Zealand have declined by 3600 over five years. Rather, the different estimates are the result of the limitations of the initial data collection methods, and the more robust methodology used to estimate numbers in the current report.

The research divides the industry into three sectors: private indoor workers, street-based sex workers, and managed workers (generally those working in brothels). A 2007 estimation of numbers of sex workers in five centres (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hawke's Bay and Nelson) found a total of 2332 sex workers. A comparison between the number of sex workers in Christchurch in 1999 and 2006 shows that the total has stayed approximately the same over that period. The study does not indicate that there has been any increase in the number of street-based sex workers in Christchurch over that period, contrary to some public perceptions.

Accurately counting the number of sex workers remains difficult. However, the Committee endorses the findings of the CSOM that the enactment of the PRA has had little impact on the numbers of people working in the sex industry.

 

The PRA and Human Rights

It is important to determine the exact nature of the human rights that must be safeguarded when considering the human rights aspect of the purpose of the PRA. There is no fundamental human right not to be discriminated against on grounds of occupation.

After considering international human rights to which New Zealand is a signatory, New Zealand case law, and the views of sex workers, the Committee concludes that the PRA safeguards the following rights: the right of those under 18 not to be used in sex work; the right of adults not to be forced to engage in sex work, including the right to refuse a particular client or sexual practice; and the right not to be subject to exploitative, degrading employment practices.

When surveyed by CSOM about their perception of rights protected by the PRA, over 90% of sex workers in each sector felt that they have legal rights under the PRA. Over 60% of sex workers in each sector felt that they were more able to refuse to provide commercial sexual services to a particular client since the enactment of the PRA.

The Committee concludes that the PRA has had a marked effect in safeguarding the right of sex workers to refuse particular clients and practices, chiefly by empowering sex workers through removing the illegality of their work. The Committee is very concerned that it appears there are still some managed sex workers who are being required by brothel operators to provide commercial sexual services against their will on occasion.

Health, Safety and Well-being of Sex Workers

Both the CSOM and CJRC reported high use of condoms throughout the industry. However, this was not necessarily due to the legal prohibition on the provision of unsafe commercial sexual services. Many said that they had always practised safe sex. It was generally felt that most sex workers had already adopted such practices as a result of the effective HIV/AIDS prevention campaign that was established in the late 1980s. Studies show a very low rate of HIV/AIDS incidence amongst sex workers.

The PRA brought the sex industry under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Research indicates that there is a high level of awareness of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) requirements in the sex industry, but compliance cannot be measured as there is no system of regular inspections of brothels by Medical Officers of Health, and the Department of Labour.

The majority of sex workers interviewed felt that the PRA could do little about violence that occurred, though a significant minority thought that there had been an improvement since the enactment of the PRA. Of those feeling in a position to comment, the majority felt sex workers were now more likely to report incidents of violence to the Police, though willingness to carry the process through to court is less common.

 

Avoiding or Exiting the Sex Industry

Research identified a combination of push and pull factors at play of people entering, remaining and exiting the sex industry. The most common reason for entering the industry across all sectors is financial. Around 93% of sex workers surveyed by CSOM cited money as a reason for both entering and staying in the sex industry. The most effective way to ensure people do not enter the sex industry is to help them find other means of earning money. Second, exiting the industry is difficult, and often involves several attempts. Third, by no means all sex workers want to exit, and some sex workers find it offensive that they should be being offered assistance to leave a job where they are quite happy. There are as many reasons for exiting as there are reasons for entering the sex industry and a 'one size fits all' approach to support and assistance in exiting will not be appropriate.

Despite the perception that most sex workers are coerced into entering the sex industry, only a very small number of sex workers reported being made to work by someone else at the time of entry and after (an average of 3.9% across the three sectors).

The most significant barriers to exiting are loss of income, reluctance to lose the flexible working hours available in the sex industry, and the camaraderie and sense of belonging that some sex workers describe.

The CJRC was commissioned by the Committee to provide a model of best practice for assisting sex workers to exit the industry. The Committee recommends that this practice be adopted in New Zealand. There is currently little dedicated support available for those wishing to exit the sex industry. The Committee recommends that central government make available adequate funding for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide a range of services to the sex industry, including assistance with exiting for those who wish to exit.

The Brothel Operator Certification System

The Committee was charged with considering whether the brothel certification regime is effective or could be improved, whether any other agency or agencies could or should administer it, and whether a system is needed for identifying the location of businesses of prostitution.

The Committee recommends that the eligibility criteria for holding a certificate be maintained, with the addition of a criterion that a certificate holder must be willing to facilitate inspections. The Department of Labour should be the lead agency to manage the inspection of brothels. Information about good employment practices and where to obtain further advice and support should be supplied with brothel operators' certificates. The register should continue to be administered by the Auckland District Court, and there need not be a requirement to link certificates to businesses. Certificates should remain valid for three years from issue.

The Use of Under Age People in Prostitution

The PRA makes it an offence to arrange for or to receive, or to facilitate or receive payment for, commercial sexual services from a person under 18. The offences carry a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. It is not an offence for a person under the age of 18 to provide commercial sexual services.

Link to the full report