The magical sex industry of South Auckland, with your host John McCracken

John McCracken is chair of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board of Auckland Council.  He’s helpfully released an oddly-decorative document about the horrors of street sex work with this commentary:

We have lived with this growing problem for a decade now and much attention has been given to the disadvantaged who are forced to earn a living as street sex workers.

But now there are additional victims, samples of whom are noted in this publication

Children are seeing things they shouldn’t see, shoppers are being intimidated and street workers operating in residential streets are keeping people awake. When asked to keep quiet they make it very clear they have every right to be there.

You’ve got to love the splitting of sex workers into “the poor victims driven to it by poverty” and “those loud bitches who dare to be familiar with legislation”.

And you’ve got to love the Magical Pixies phrasing of the entire document.  Apparently, in the eyes of Auckland Council, sex workers just hover on street corners for funsies.  And they wear revealing clothing solely for the purpose of frightening the kiddies.  And sex work is an “incompatible activity” with “family homes, schools, and sports fields.”

Customers?  Oh, well customers are mentioned in the document, primarily in terms like this:

[The Bill can] apply fines, maximum of $2,000, to both street workers and their customers. Local Boards
hold the view that fair warnings to customers will be enough to encourage the industry to move to a new, recommended area.


First warnings would be given and in the case of “customers” a high degree of co-operation is anticipated. This means that sellers would follow buyers to the new trading areas outside of specified areas.

Yes, well we definitely don’t want those poor, innocent, 90% male customers to be caught on the wrong side of the law or anything.  Let’s just give them warnings, the poor precious dears, and specify exactly where they should go to … I’m sorry, wasn’t McCracken just up there a few paragraphs back lamenting the fate of people who are forced into sex work?  But we don’t actually care about them, we just want them to go away where Good People can’t see them.

Unless of course those Good People are the ones funding the entire sodding industry in the first place.

Sex workers are not stupid, people.  Sex workers are operating a business just like everyone else.  They are where the customers are, and if there’s that many of them working in that area, one can only logically assume it’s because a hell of a lot of the men of South Auckland patronise them.  So to speak.

The document is full of a bunch of self-justifying waffle about how oh no, this totally won’t drive street sex work underground, no, they just want to think of the children etc etc, but let’s be honest:  any time you have a “problem” which is quite clearly a symptom of your region’s general poverty (with occasional horrific displays of wealth), lack of education, economic badness, etc, and your answer is to hide that problem away from the eyes of Normal People, you’re just a fucking douche.

You’re not interested in helping people, you’re not willing to look at the wider issues in your community, you just want to hide it all away and pretend it’s not there.  You’re a fucking douche.

Also, any time your document on the topic (p11) is citing ridiculous “Hamilton transvestites invade Papatoetoe” stories from the Herald to back itself up, you’re pretty much showing your judgemental ass.

In fact, let’s take a closer look at the structure of this document, shall we?

  • Introductions by several old, predominantly white dudes
  • “Two decades of sex workers” section entirely comprised of media clippings and excerpts from bureaucratic reviews.  No statistics.
  • “Personal accounts” entirely from non-sex workers.  Because sex workers aren’t people, so they can’t give personal accounts.
  • “Why this Bill is necessary” – trans. “because we can’t make the dirty jezebels invisible.”
  • FAQs
  • Afterwords by two old white dudes

Gosh, I’m totally sold on the evidence of that.

And while we’re talking about the two old white dudes at the end, check out this for a revealing pair of statements:

We need to relieve ordinary, law-abiding citizens from the anxiety of hiding indoors at night, from having to move their businesses and from living under constant fear that the people from the street sex trade can often evoke.

No one has apparently told the Chair of Auckland Council’s Community Safety Forum that sex workers are ordinary, law-abiding citizens.  And in the blue corner:

As you consider this document, I also ask you to consider the unassailable fact that a street sex worker could stand outside your home mailbox, on public ground, and solicit for business.

What other business enjoys such freedom?

You know what sex workers have never done, Sir John Walker?  Called my house at 7pm and tried to sell me an upgrade on my kinky threesome satellite TV.  Sex workers have also never knocked on my door and asked me if I believe in the holy trinity of Fellatio, Cunnilingus and Greek.

Sex workers have never signed me up to their fucking mailing lists without my consent and spammed me with offers of “free sex” at exorbitant small-print interest rates for years.  Sex workers don’t continually leave pamphlets in my mailbox offering me a no-obligation quote on my next fisting.  Sex workers don’t ambush me in malls or department stores insisting I try out a sample of their latest massage oil on the back of my hand.

Who would you rather have standing outside your house at night, a sex worker or THE GUY FROM THE HARVEY NORMAN ADS LIMITED TIME ONLY EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTEREST FREE THESE BARGAINS WON’T LAST?

Seems to me that our sex industry is positively sedate when it comes to marketing themselves compared to other industries – including, you know, the Girl Guides.

But the bottom line is this:  South Auckland will almost certainly stop having such a problem with street sex work when South Auckland men stop paying for it.

PS.  John:  Maybe you should have a word with Cameron Brewer, ’cause he has a lot of trouble with brothels in Remuera and obviously it’s not Good Men Like You keeping them in business or anything, so the same drug-dealing pimp ring bent on destroying our society could be behind the whole thing.

PPS.  A quick reminder of what happens when you start saying people can’t operate near schools or churches or child care centres or parks.  I’m sure the people of Miami feel much safer.

ETA: I keep being scarily prescient about these things.  Just spotted on Stuff, OMG!  Sex workers destroying street signs!  Because they’re “big, strong people” apparently.  *sniffs* Can anyone else smell transphobia?  Hint:  the rest of the article is far less subtle.


  1. Tamsin B-G (@Tansy91)

    Who would you rather have standing outside your house at night, a sex worker or THE GUY FROM THE HARVEY NORMAN ADS LIMITED TIME ONLY EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTEREST FREE THESE BARGAINS WON’T LAST?

    This made me laugh quite a lot. Also, excellent post.

    • QoT

      Thanks! I seriously hate Harvey Norman ads, so the comparison leapt immediately to mind.

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  3. Jeremy

    You guys make out like they just arrived out of the blue to wreck YOUR community, which is not the case. Many of the sex workers and their clientelle live around Papatoetoe/Otara as well, it is their community too! Just because you guys own the shops does not automaticlly make you guys the sole owners of the community.

    • QoT

      That was indeed the point of the post, Jeremy! Perhaps you meant to comment elsewhere?

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