Prostitutes wrecking public property

Last updated 16:35 16/07/2012

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Sex workers have wrecked more than 40 parking signs in the last 18 months by using them to solicit clients, a tell-all-book on South Auckland street workers claims.

The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board released the book detailing business owners and residents dealings with street prostitutes today in their fight to ban them from working near homes, schools and sports grounds.

In the book, Donna Lee, the manager of the Hunters Corner and central Papatoetoe business districts, claims sex workers, among other things, are damaging public property

"Prostitutes use these (street sign poles) as dancing poles," she claims.

"The poles are part of their soliciting equipment and they often snap them. Some of the prostitutes are big, strong people."

Lee said she didn't receive complaints from business people anymore because they've "given up on getting any help" and simply go about cleaning up their properties which involved picking up condoms, drugs and faeces.

"We quite literally deal with human waste every day."

The book begins with a foreword from Mayor Len Brown who calls for legislative support to combat the "uninhibited" spread of street prostitution.

"There is no doubt that the street sex trade is enjoying its unrestricted use of public space and is possibly the only industry in New Zealand to enjoy such status," Brown writes.

"Other industries must comply with licences or special authority of some kind. The street sector of prostitution faces no such constraints."

Auckland Council Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places Bill is currently before parliament. It aims to give councils the ability to ban prostitutes from working in certain areas.

In the book Otara-Papatoetoe board Chairman John McCracken writes, "we are beyond moral outrage. We just ask for some reasonable control of this industry."

An unnamed accountant recalled an incident in February where a transvestite rammed a supermarket trolley into a woman's car at 8am, before lying across the bonnet of her car. A month later a school-bus full of children observed a transvestite changing her dress.

A shop owner said up to 20-30 prostitutes worked outside his shop some nights. He said they shoplifted from his store, begged his customers for money and defecated behind his shop.

Sharon Maxey was forced to move her Lace and Craft shop from Manurewa because of problems with sex workers. She decided to move after after an elderly male was threatened with a knife by a transvestite outside her shop.

Graham Mullins, Town Manager Otahuhu Mainstreet Association, said the town's CCTV security cameras had captured "appalling behaviour".

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He said like anyone selling goods, prostitutes should require permits.

- Auckland Now

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