Pressure builds for Christchurch City Council to ban sex workers from residential areas

Central city resident Andrew Huntley wants the Christchurch City Council to ban sex workers from working in residential ...
IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFF

Central city resident Andrew Huntley wants the Christchurch City Council to ban sex workers from working in residential areas.

Pressure is mounting on Christchurch City Council to stop prostitutes working in residential areas.

Central Christchurch resident Andrew Huntley has launched a petition to get the council to ban prostitutes soliciting in residential areas. The move comes a week after St Albans residents pleaded with the council to do the same thing.

Huntley said he was fed up at having to watch where his dog walked in case there were needles.

"When I walk my dog at six in the morning, I am not kidding, there are more tradies lining up for blow jobs than at the local service station waiting for coffee. 

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"I'm fed-up by having prostitutes leering at me in my car to see if I'm a potential punter when I drive to and from my home and I am over them exposing their breasts, backsides and genitalia in broad daylight on some occasions when I have driven by."

Huntley, a former police officer, moved to Peterborough St three years ago and knew nearby Manchester St, south of Bealey Ave, was popular with sex workers, but said the area was changing and more residential homes were being built so it was no longer acceptable for prostitutes to work there.

"It's not a question of 'Not in my backyard', it's a question of not in anybody's backyard, not in residential areas."

New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC) South Island liaison Tracy Palmer said since the earthquakes sex workers had gravitated north on Manchester St and she believed they would go back into the business areas of the city. 

"We will continue to encourage people to work in areas where they're not disrupting neighbours and residents.

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"We have worked with the council and other interested agencies for years to help resolve these issues."

Palmer said the sex workers had the right to be there, but the collective did encourage them to work outside residential areas.

"There is still a small group of people that prefer to work north of Bealey Ave, but they may well gravitate towards the industrial side of town as roadworks are completed."

The collective did not want to see the council ban sex workers from parts of the city.

"NZPC prefers a non-regulative approach to these issues."

Council strategic policy head Helen Beaumont said a report on the options for addressing the sex-worker-related issues in residential areas was due to be discussed by council on May 4.

She said council was part of an interagency group – along with the police, Salvation Army and NZPC – that was progressing initiatives to resolve these concerns.

Beaumont earlier said there were difficulties involved with using the public places 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."

 - Stuff

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