Claims last week that former National Party MP Jaimie Lee Ross exploits and endangers young women at his Auckland brothel highlight how the Prostitution Reform Act is failing women, a sex trade survivor group says.
Wahine Toa Rising is calling for a review of the Act. “The PRA allows women and young people to be exploited and hurt, with no accountability for men like Ross,” said spokeswoman Allie Marie Diamond. “You cannot change the attitudes and behaviour of johns, pimps, or profiteers until you hold them accountable, and the Act is failing to do that.
Men pay Ross $250 per hour to have sex with women as young as 18 at his brothel in Auckland. He takes $100 an hour and $70 per half hour from that for himself. According to the Newsroom report, the women have concerns for their welfare and safety. One of the women told Newsroom “clients had been able to book again after mistreating women. ‘It leaves me feeling unsafe and unprotected with nowhere to turn.'”
Ms Diamond says the Act has not changed anything for women and young people exploited in sex trade. “This situation, with an ex-MP now a pimp, shows us how the Act has normalised prostitution and driven it out of sight, out of mind. We are hearing of increased violence and exploitation against women and young people, yet no one does anything. These women have been abandoned to exploitation and harm by successive governments.”
“The Prostitution Reform Act was introduced before some of these young women were born”, says Ms. Diamond. “20 years later it is still failing to protect women despite claims it would. It is time to change that”.