Prostitutes continue to plague Christchurch residents

Footage from a camera positioned at the corner of Manchester and Purchas streets in May 2016 shows the prostitution ...
CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL

Footage from a camera positioned at the corner of Manchester and Purchas streets in May 2016 shows the prostitution activity residents have had to put up with for years.

A Christchurch man has pleaded with the city council to stop prostitutes working in residential areas.

For six years, residents living close to the corner of Manchester and Purchas streets in St Albans have been subjected to prostitutes working outside, and sometimes even inside, their front gates.

Residents have had to clean up faeces, used condoms, needles and used wet wipes posted in their letterboxes. Their children have been woken up by prostitutes yelling and singing to each other and arguing with clients over prices.

Matt Bonis has had enough. 

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"This keeps our kids awake night after night. We used to call the police and they were good, but now they don't bother sending anybody," he told the council at its meeting on Thursday.

Women were soliciting business all hours of the day, even in the morning, when children were being dropped off at a neighbouring pre-school, Bonis said.

"We have an unregulated commercial activity happening outside our home 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

He said residents were not bagging prostitution, they just did not believe it was appropriate in a residential area.

Some residents had also had their homes broken into and vehicles damaged. 

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"They know when we leave."

One of his neighbours refused a request by a prostitute to move his work van because it was impeding views for her potential clients and the next morning he found the vehicle had been vandalised.  

"We're asking please do the right thing. Use the powers available to you to protect residents," Bonis told the council.

A CCTV camera was put up last year to try and deter prostitutes but Bonis said it had not helped. If anything, it worked to the prostitutes advantage in terms of safety.

Bonis wanted the council to enforce its public places bylaw which restricted commercial activity in a residential area or make an amendment to the bylaw preventing prostitution in a residential area. The bylaw is under review and goes out for public consultation next year.

Council strategic policy head Helen Beaumont said there were difficulties involved with using the bylaw to control sex workers in residential areas and challenges around effective enforcement.

"Prostitution is not illegal in New Zealand, and there is little the council can do to reduce this activity."

Beaumont said staff were working on a report outlining potential solutions. The report was expected to go to council within the coming months.

Since 2011, prostitutes migrated north of Bealey Ave, but observations by council staff indicated sex workers were gradually returning to their traditional locations on Manchester St, south of Bealey Ave, Beaumont said.

Papanui-Innes Community Board chairwoman Ali Jones wanted the Government to amend the Prostitution Reform Act to enable councils to put in place bylaws preventing prostitutes operating in residential areas.

"That is the only way I can see it being resolved."

Cr Deon Swiggs​ said it was an issue the council needed to sort out because it was affecting people's lives.

 - Stuff

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