Illegal sex workers access million-dollar taxpayer-funded health programme

NZ Herald 31 May 2018
Family First Comment: New Zealand legislation specifically excludes migrants holding temporary visas from being able to lawfully work in the sex industry. “It is disturbing that both the ministry and NZPC are knowingly aiding illegal forms of prostitution in NZ, and using taxpayer funding to facilitate that work,” McCoskrie said. “Turning a ‘blind eye’ to illegal migrant workers will simply open up a huge market for trafficking and exploitation which, based on local anecdotal evidence and international experience, will harm women.”

Illegal sex workers are accessing a million-dollar taxpayer funded sex programme, a Herald investigation can reveal.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) funds $1,099,944 excluding GST annually to the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) for health programmes across the country for sex workers.

In a response to an email enquiry by a local sex worker, the ministry confirmed that the services were “from time to time” being accessed by sex workers who are not legally able to work in New Zealand.

The programmes include sexual health and family planning, weekly sexual health clinics in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and needle exchange services in Tauranga and Auckland.

The ministry’s service commissioning director Jill Lane said the prevention of HIV and Aids and the health, safety and welfare of all sex workers and their clients remained its “prime focus”.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie slammed the ministry and NZPC for using taxpayer money to “knowingly aid” illegal prostitution.

New Zealand legislation specifically excludes migrants holding temporary visas from being able to lawfully work in the sex industry.

“It is disturbing that both the ministry and NZPC are knowingly aiding illegal forms of prostitution in NZ, and using taxpayer funding to facilitate that work,” McCoskrie said.

“Turning a ‘blind eye’ to illegal migrant workers will simply open up a huge market for trafficking and exploitation which, based on local anecdotal evidence and international experience, will harm women.”

NZPC national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said the collective runs five community-based programmes and had more than 10,700 engagements with sex workers last year.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12061215

NZ sex workers undercut by illegal foreign prostitutes
TVNZ One News 31 May 2018
A wave of foreign prostitutes working in breach of their visas is taking work from locals, sex workers say.

While some women advertising on sex work websites as foreign visitors would have residence or citizenship, immigrants now outnumbered New Zealanders in the industry, Christchurch prostitute Amber O’Hara* said.

“The New Zealand sex industry is now on a quite predictable trajectory, containing mainly illegal sex workers willingly travelling here to work from countries where it is illegal,” she said.

“Yet it’s a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil situation from those with the actual power to help.”

Immigrants taking New Zealanders’ jobs would not be allowed in other industries and the country was seen as a soft target for women who could makes thousands on a sex work holiday, Ms O’Hara said.

One of the main sex work websites advertised more than 800 women, separated into Asian and non-Asian prostitutes.

A registration scheme on sites would mean only those eligible to work could advertise – and ensure everyone was paying tax, Ms O’Hara said.

“It will mean that New Zealand ladies who do want to work, who are straight with the IRD and trying to do the right thing, can actually run a sustainable business without unfair competition from people who are not doing the right thing by our law.

“It wouldn’t be a problem if there were just a few fly-by-nighters but, if you count the ads, New Zealanders are easily outnumbered.”
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-sex-workers-undercut-illegal-foreign-prostitutes

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