Voices of Māori Sex Workers
Aotearoa (New Zealand) is the only country in the world to have decriminalized sex work. The Prostitution Reform Act (PRA henceforth) was enacted in 2003 with the aim to safeguard the human rights of sex workers, and create a framework that is conducive to public health. Skeptics of this policy argue that the law reform was targeting indoor workers while the livelihood of street-based sex workers did not see significant improvements (Justice Acts, 2014). It is known that Māori sex workers are over-represented at the street-level, thus raising the question: to what extent has the PRA (2003) been successful in safeguarding the human rights of Māori sex workers? This dissertation discusses the effects of decriminalization on the human rights of Māori sex workers based on interviews with 30 participants, and meetings with 18 key informants such as social workers, researchers, and a sexual health nurse. An Indigenous Intersectionality-Based Policy Analysis of the PRA (2003) helped capture the colonial, historical, and socio-political layers that shape the sex industry Māori sex workers are involved in. This research is the result of a four-month community-based participatory research with a Māori Advisory Group to help address the voices of Māori sex workers. It can be argued that the PRA (2003) has given a potentiality of mana motuhake (control over one’s own destiny) to Māori sex workers. Nevertheless, despite improvements since the PRA (2003), discrimination is an ongoing human right issue faced by this community, and it manifests both within and outside of the sex industry, notably with housing, employment, and healthcare. This dissertation will therefore look at the way discrimination manifests –both within and towards the sex industry– from a human rights approach.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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