The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) was formed in 1987 by sex workers as an organisation determined to seek equal rights for sex workers. A year later, NZPC agreed to sign a contract with the Minister of Health to provide a range of services to sex workers with a focus on HIV and AIDS. NZPC established community bases in New Zealand's main centres, and assisted in creating opportunities for sex workers to communicate their issues.
Since inception, NZPC has advocated for the recognition of sex work and the repeal of those laws that criminalise, and discriminate against, sex workers.
NZPC was established with the ideals of the Ottawa Charter (1986) in mind. The Charter acknowledged the importance of community action. In other words, sex workers were able to take control of their own health promotion programmes as much as possible in order to determine the direction those programmes should take.
To date, NZPC has:
- 1987 - A group of women who worked as "masseuses" in Massage Parlours and private houses, joined by women and transgendered street workers, got together to discuss the formation of NZPC. As a founding member said, "We met on beaches, sat round pub tables, huddled in doorways, and spoke on the telephone to unseen, like minded, sex workers throughout the country. Sex workers were on the move. People started to talk about us as if we were a force to be reckoned with. This is really when we realised we were becoming an organisation."
- 1988 - Discussions among those who were part of NZPC, and with the Minister of Health, saw the development of a contract where NZPC agreed to provide a range of services to sex workers, focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, being signed. As a consequence Community Bases were formed throughout the country over the next ten years, where sex workers could visit and obtain information, support services, meet each other, network, etc. As the organisation grew, six Community Bases were operational by 2000. Free sexual health clinics for sex workers were also established at the Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch community bases.
- 1991 - NZPC was fed up with police raids that negatively impacted on sex workers, and indicated to the Ministry of Health that we would be unable to continue contracting with the Ministry unless an interdepartmental committee was established to investigate repealing the laws against sex work.
- 2000 - 2003- Since 1989, NZPC had publicly advocated for the decriminalisation of sex work, and we presented a submission to Parliament on this matter. The Prostitution Reform Bill was entered into the Private Members Ballot in September 2000, drawn and introduced to Parliament in October that year. Oral hearings on the Prostitution Reform Bill commenced in 2001. The Select Committee examined 222 individual submissions, heard 66 oral submissions over more than 23 hours, and spent more than another 42 hours discussing the Bill. The Prostitution Reform Bill passed Parliament on 25 June 2003. The parts decriminalising soliciting, brothel keeping, procuring and living on the earnings, came into effect on 28 June 2003, with the parts requiring certification of operators coming into effect on 28 December 2003. NZPC was a driving force behind the law. More information on the process this underwent is contained in the page on Law.
- 2004 - Regional contracts through the Ministry of Health are combined into one national contract.
|Our Mission, Values and Objectives|
The Mission of NZPC is:
The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective advocates for the human rights, health and well-being of all sex workers. The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective is committed to working for the empowerment of sex workers, so that sex workers may have control over all aspects of their work and lives.
The Values of NZPC are:
- NZPC recognises that sex work is work.
- NZPC recognises that sex workers should not experience discrimination and stigma due to their work.
- NZPC recognises the centrality of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
- NZPC recognises that sex workers are experts in their own lives.
- NZPC creates an environment that enables sex workers to remain anonymous when they access services provided by the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective.
- NZPC is committed to working for the empowerment of all sex workers, and must involve sex workers in all parts of the organisation.
In striving to promote these values, NZPC seeks to complete the following objectives:
- To involve sex workers in all functions of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective.
- To access sex workers to ensure they have appropriate information to help them make informed decisions that will enhance their occupational safety and health.
- To support sex workers to access services of relevance to their occupational safety and health.
- To provide advice, information, and support to sex workers that enables them to work safely and in supportive, safe environments.
- To overcome barriers that impact negatively on the rights, health, and well being of sex workers.
- To assist sex workers to find strategies to overcome situations that are detrimental to their occupational safety and health.
- To provide balanced advice to people considering sex work, and to people who have recently entered sex work.
- To liase with government and non-government agencies that engage with sex workers, and to assist these agencies to do so in an effective, culturally appropriate, way.
- To liaise with government and non-government agencies on issues related to sex work that will result in better conditions for sex workers.
- To provide support to people under the age of 18 who are involved in sex work to ensure that they have a variety of options, are able to make informed decisions about these options, and that these options include the ability to leave sex work.
- To provide operators of brothels with advice that explains their obligations to those sex workers who are working from their venues.