Adverse experiences post-decriminalisation


In New Zealand, in a 12-month period (2007/2008) following decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003, a government Report found -

Of women engaged in street prostitution
    39% had been threatened with physical violence
    31% experienced refusal by client to pay
    24% had money stolen by a client
   13% had been physically assaulted by client
   11% had received abusive text messages from clients
   10% had been held somewhere against their will

 Of women engaged in the managed indoor sector (eg brothel)
   10% had been physically assaulted by client

Of women engaged in the private indoor sector (eg SOOB, small owner-operated brothel, purportedly the "safest" sector)
   36% has received abusive text messages from clients
   16% had been threatened with physical violence
   12% had experienced refusal by client to pay

 

Table 11.   Adverse Experiences while Working in the Last 12 Months by Sector - highlights added
 

 
Total
%
Street Workers
%
Managed Indoor
%
Private Indoor
%
Experienced refusal by client to pay (N=769)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
12.6
9.1
53.8
31.5
11.7
46.6
7.5
4.9
63.9
12.6
10.0
53.3
Had money stolen by a client (N=768)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
8.3
15.5
63.1
24.4
10.6
64.3
4.2
19.3
71.7
7.9
18.3
53.3
Been physically assaulted by client (N=770)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
9.8
19.2
75.9
13.4
19.2
64.5
10.4
13.5
86.4
7.3
32.0
53.9
Threatened by someone with physical violence (N=768)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
15.9
20.0
70.0
39.5
17.8
72.2
9.3
14.8
77.3
16.3
27.0
60.1
Held somewhere against their will (N=766)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
4.7
21.1
59.8
10.2
19.3
40.5
4.2
30.1
63.4
3.2
3.5
79.2
Been raped by a client (N=769)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
3.0
32.1
65.0
5.3
6.0
53.8
3.3
35.4
71.0
1.5
62.3
62.3
Received abusive text messages from clients (N=771)
Reported to police
Reported to another person besides police
17.3
6.1
44.2
11.0
11.2
42.3
7.4
14.2
46.4
36.4
2.6
43.7

  

 
"Opinion among CJRC informants differed on the impact of the PRA on adverse incidents, including violence, being experienced in the sex industry. The majority felt that the PRA could do little about the violence that occurred.

Clients getting stroppy will always happen. This was the case before the Act and after it.
(Brothel operator, CJRC, 2007)

There has been no impact. There will always be ugly mugs.
(NGO – health, CJRC, 2007)"

CJRC - Crime and Justice Research Centre

Ministry of Justice. (2008). Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation
of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. 
Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Justice, pp.57-58.



Further, decriminalisation provided no safety to any of the three women engaged in street prostitution who were murdered subsequent to the law change.