So this happened in Chirstchurch:
From the article:
“Hagley-Ferrymead ward hopeful Wayne Hawker posted on his Facebook page the plate numbers of 10 cars he spotted visiting an England St brothel during a stake-out over three nights last week.”
This is quite clearly a breach of privacy as well as potentially being defamatory, and opens Wayne Hawker up to the possibility of litigation.
“It shouldn’t be operating in a residential area where there are children and families,” he said.”That’s what I’m against.
The passage of the ‘Prostitution Reform Act’ in 2003 means that New Zealand has some of the most liberal laws governing sex work in the world. Clearly, however this has not put an end to the persecution of sex workers and their clients. Mr. Hawker, a man hoping to stand for council in Christchurch is using the stigma that surrounds sex work as a shield to protect him. He states this quite clearly:
“What are they going to do? Embarrass themselves to bring legal action against me?” he asked. “They can bring it on.”
He seems to believe that acknowledging going to see a sex worker or being one is so mortifying that no one would dare stand up to him. I think we have a word for that, it is called being a bully. Hawker is using the stigma that surrounds sex work to bully people into doing what he wants. What a stand up guy.
As I can see it, Hawker seems to think he can increase his standing in the community by shaming sex workers and the men (or women) that use their services. He seems to be enraged by the fact that the people he sees patronising this place of business appear to be wealthy business men. He seems to think he has some sort of moral higher ground. I don’t buy it. Hawker does not care about the impact his actions may have on the sex workers who count on their clientele to earn their living. I guess in his mind he is doing them a favour.
The politics around sex work is complicated, there are definitely issues of exploitation and poor labour practices within the industry. It does no one any favours to pretend that these issues don’t exist. However critiquing poor labour practices within sex work is not even close to the same thing as shaming people for participating in the industry. Sex workers are not responsible for the moral decay of society. They are people doing a job. They have many reasons for doing that job, just like anyone who takes any job. Violence, stigma and shame should not be the price they pay for taking a job that some people think is morally suspect.
Hawker is exploiting a marginalised group of people (sex workers) to further his aims at getting elected, this is something that I believe is much more morally suspect than engaging in sex work. I would hope that people think twice about voting for someone who engages in such underhand tactics and clearly cares little for the people who’s livelihoods he may be interfering with for the sole purpose of winning dubious political points.