AFRO's News Reading
The week before New Zealand went into full lockdown on 26 March, Lana*, 28, had taken a break from work at the high-end Wellington brothel where, since September, she had made around NZ$2,200 a month seeing two or three clients a week.
On 23 March, her university announced courses would move online. The following day she decided to stay with her parents in Auckland, and applied for New Zealand’s emergency wage subsidy for all workers whose earnings have fallen by at least 30% due to coronavirus.
Just two days later the money – a lump sum of NZ$4,200 covering 12 weeks of lost part-time earnings – was in her account. Full-time workers, who average more than 20 hours a week, get a lump sum of $7,029... Read more
In New Zealand where sex work was decriminalised in 2003, sex workers are able to access financial benefits like other sectors during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only with financial support from the government, the sex work community in New Zealand also maintains a robust relationship with law enforcement bodies. They are much more fortunate than their counterparts in other countries where sex work is still criminalised.
This reflects the numerous benefits of decriminalisation of sex work, especially in difficult times as such. In New Zealand, sex work is recognised as a formal work and sex workers are protected and respected. Perhaps, the deeply rooted prejudice, discrimination and marginalisation of sex workers all originate from its criminalised nature. Perhaps, all it takes to help sex workers overcome challenges is decriminalisation. We see this, New Zealand also sees this. When will our government finally see this and give it some serious thoughts?