New Zealand decided to decriminalise sex work in 2003. Please watch our film and learn how sex workers see the impact of this law on their daily lives!
The polarised debate over the sex industry divides Europe. One set of radical feminists and their allies claim that prostitution is a form of sexual exploitation in itself, that prostitutes are the victims of violence, and that their clients are exploiters, who should be punished by law. They often highlight the Swedish model – criminalising the clients of sex workers – as best practice for other countries to imitate; and indeed, the Swedish model is gaining in popularity among politicians from both the conservative and the liberal side.
A second group of feminists and their allies, most of them sex workers themselves, define sex work as a consensual exchange of sexual services between two adults for material compensation, a business very different from human trafficking (a crime which is already covered by international conventions). This second group say that sex workers are not victims who need to be rescued, and that laws which criminalise the demand or supply side of sex work, actually have the effect of harming precisely those people they are intended to protect. They therefore reject the Swedish model, in favour of the legislation New Zealand adopted in 2003, decriminalising both the demand and supply side of sex work.
Péter Sárosi interviewing Annah Pickering and Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC)
The Drugreporter’s video team travelled to Auckland, New Zealand this March, to attend a conference. While we were there, we visited the headquarters of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, an organisation which supports the rights of sex workers and educates them about minimising the risks of their job. Please watch our video and learn how the most affected people – sex workers themselves – perceive the impact of the 2003 law on the sex industry! We believe other countries can learn from their experiences.
Text: Péter Sárosi
Video: István Gábor Takács and Péter Sárosi