Unfinished decriminalization: The impact of section 19 of the prostitution reform act 2003 on migrant sex workers’ rights and lives in aotearoa New Zealand
journal contributionposted on 05.07.2021, 06:28 by C Bennachie, A Pickering, J Lee, Paola Gioia MaciotiPaola Gioia Macioti, N Mai, AE Fehrenbacher, C Giametta, H Hoefinger, J Musto
In 2003, Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) passed the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA), which decriminalized sex work for NZ citizens and holders of permanent residency (PR) while excluding migrant sex workers (MSWs) from its protection. This is due to Section 19 (s19) of the PRA, added at the last minute against advice by the Aotearoa New Zealand Sex Workers’ Collective (NZPC) as an anti-trafficking clause. Because of s19, migrants on temporary visas found to be working as sex workers are liable to deportation by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). Drawing on original ethnographic and interview data gathered over 24 months of fieldwork, our study finds that migrant sex workers in New Zealand are vulnerable to violence and exploitation, and are too afraid to report these to the police for fear of deportation, corroborating earlier studies and studies completed while we were collecting data.