Christchurch City Council’s Regulatory Performance Committee has recommended that the Council does not pursue a bylaw to regulate street-based sex work in Manchester Street.
At a full Council meeting in May, staff were asked to investigate the feasibility of introducing such a bylaw and to report back, through the committee, on their findings.
Residents of the area of Manchester Street north of Bealey Avenue have complained about street-based sex workers in the area since the 2011 earthquake.
Sex workers who had traditionally frequented Manchester Street south of Bealey Avenue were forced out of that area when the city was cordoned after the 2011 earthquake and have been reluctant to move back there because of roadworks. Residents north of Bealey Avenue say although some sex workers have moved closer to the CBD, some have not and they and their associates continue to cause problems.
After considering the limited legal options available, staff recommended against pursuing a bylaw. Instead, the report recommended establishing a collaborative community working group comprising non-government organisations, police and affected residents to address the issues of concern.
In considering its recommendation to Council, the Committee heard deputations from three residents who complained of disruption related to street-based sex work outside their homes, in support of a bylaw. It also heard from two representatives of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, in opposition to a bylaw.
The Regulatory Performance Committee unanimously supported a motion to recommend that the Council agree not to develop a bylaw at this stage.
Instead it is recommending the Council continue to work with all parties to encourage street based sex workers to relocate away from the current area of concern or future areas of concern.
They have recommended the Council, in partnership with the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, form a collaborative community working group that will include the non-government organisations, the police, and affected residents to work on ways of encouraging the street-based sex workers to move.
The Committee is recommending the Council consider providing some funding to support the working group’s initiatives.