The 2003 Prostitution Reform Act decriminalised sex work in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Under decriminalisation, street-based sex workers can work free of prosecution and police harassment. Indoor sex workers can legally choose to work with friends for safety. Earning off of the proceeds of sex work through a commercial sex business is legal. Clients of sex workers are not criminalised so sex workers are not forced to work underground in situations that expose them to the risk of violence. Sex workers in Aotearoa/New Zealand are not afraid of reporting to the police. Under the New Zealand model, sex workers have access to the criminal justice system, to health and social services without fear of being discriminated against.
Faces Behind the Voices was a peer-led collaboration with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC). The videos and text provide reflections on the lived experiences of sex workers under the New Zealand model of decriminalisation and context from:
Jason Hewett, formerly from the New Zealand Police, about the relationship between sex workers and the police
Dr Annette Nesdale from the Health Ministry of Health (New Zealand) about access to health services
Jan Logie from the New Zealand Green Party MP for a feminist perspective on decriminalisation
The voices of New Zealand sex workers might appear as remote by distance as Aotearoa/New Zealand from Europe, but their experiences of working under decriminalisation are vital to the policy debates around prostitution reform in countries far, far from Aotearoa.
The 2003 Prostitution Reform Act decriminalised sex work in New Zealand. Sex workers, brothel operators and third parties are no longer criminalised and now have equal access to justice, health and employment rights just like anyone else.
Ahi Wi-Hongi is a current sex worker based in New Zealand working with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) in a Community Liaison role. Ahi is an activist for transgender people’s rights in New Zealand with Gender Minorities Aotearoa. They talk here about how decriminalisation has improved sex workers’ relationship with the New Zealand police and why the safety of sex workers has improved under decriminalisation.
Former New Zealand Police Area Commander Jason Hewett talks about why laws decriminalising sex work in New Zealand have improved the rights of sex workers.
Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand MP Jan Logie talks about why she supports the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act that decriminalised sex work in New Zealand.
Sex workers’ health and safety are significant aspects of the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act but what do health and safety actually entail from a public health perspective?