I’m the only current sex worker that spoke today on behalf of the 3,500 sex workers here in New Zealand. I think Spin Off can delete an old article that reads “I’m a sex worker and Lisa Lewis doesn’t speak for me.” I’ve made mistakes in the past but I’m making up for those mistakes now. Hamilton City Council only gave me 5 minutes to speak! I needed at least 10 minutes!!
Here is my speech:
Hello my name is Lisa Lewis and I made this submission before deciding to stand for Mayor and Council in the upcoming elections. I am here to protest the current Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw.
On the Hamilton City Council website includes a PDF accessible to the public. The document is called “Diversity Toolkit” published in 2017. Page 3 under definitions reads the following.. “discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances (Human Rights Commission). This same document includes words from our current Mayor Andrew King in 2017. I quote his words from the Diversity Toolkit. “The driver here is inclusiveness. We want Hamiltonians to feel included and part of our community, regardless of where they’ve come from, the faith they follow, or the experiences they have had during their life.” I thank our current Mayor for recognising inclusiveness is all part of diversity.
In 1938 survey found that 26 out of 27 hotels and hostels refused to host Maori. Local politicians at the time suggested building a Maori-Only hostel. This was segregation and discrimination.
Fast forward to 2019, Hamilton City Council is currently voting a Bylaw called the Prostitution Bylaw where many sex workers are now being segregated and discriminated.
Some may ask what relevance does the Diversity Toolkit have to do with prostitutes? Many sex workers are Maori. So any Bylaw that unfairly impacts sex workers,
– also unfairly impacts Maori.
I ask respectively from our Mayor Andrew King to please remember and consider your own words from 2017, as recorded by the Hamilton City Council Diversity Toolkit that the driver of our city and decisions is you. You are driving this bus and your words inclusive mean the following…
Inclusiveness is the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised, such as those who have disabilities and members of minority groups or age, profession, ethnicity or religion.
To the current 12 Councillors and our cities Mayor, I thank you for including me and my submission today. I thank you all for listening to what I have to say. I am here speaking at the Councils Regulatory and Hearings Committee to present my case on behalf of 3 and a half thousand sex workers here in New Zealand today who are vulnerable today as o speak of someone that can use this Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw against them when trying to work without the reliance off our government Dole or DPB or benefit and simply provide for our families.
The map on the Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw restricts all sex workers to work and provide business to the Hamilton East side currently. We can only work on the City side of the bridge and river only in the West Region.
This rule in the Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw does NOT reflect fairness like any other business here in Hamilton. The rule does not reflect equality and diversity and breaches discrimination according to the Hamilton City Council Diversity Toolkit.
No other professional, industry or business is restrictive in the same way like Hamilton City Council is restricting Prostitutes.
By restraining where sex workers work, Hamilton City Council is putting us at risk of exploits and public health risk and harm.
It is more expensive than to rent in the city, and most home owners also discriminate against us workers which then resorts sex workers paying for hotels. Then sex workers like myself have to go to another city to work which has us away from our own family and home. This is segregation and discrimination and this is not fair.
Don’t you agree with the current tourism and current housing shortages which Housing NZ and Work & Income place homeless families in hotels, the smart thing would be to drop this restrictive map on the Bylaw so more families can be accommodated in Hamilton Hotels and sex workers have more options in terms of their place of work?
The fine for being in breach of the Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw is $20,000.
I understand that a Bylaw is put in place to protect public from nuisance. Sex work in 2019 is conducted and done behind closed doors. This is because CCTV cameras are everywhere and in a day and age of where social media and smart phones are everywhere, to protect the privacy of a client and a sex worker – sex work is conducted behind closed doors.
All sex workers are aware that it is illegal for ANY person – not just a sex worker to have sex in a public place not just a sex worker under
- The Crimes Act 1961
- Offences Act 1981
We should not be using Rate Payers money to govern a Police Job. Breach of private sex would become a police matter – not a council matter.
For parents worried about a sex worker next door. As a parent myself I would be more worried about the following living next door
- pedophile someone who’s sexually attracted to children. A pedophiles also rape or molest children.
- A criminal barrister representing murderers rapists and pedophiles or similar clients coming and going.
Bylaws should minimise the potential for offensive behaviour in public places. In that case, Hamilton City Council should be dishing out $20,000 fines to how a girl dresses which is less clothing than that of a sex worker and their type of behaviour at the local bar like the outback as shown in these photos on the screen.
A possible sex worker faces a $20,000.00 fine when breaching the current Hamilton City Council Prostitution Bylaw. Whereas someone that breaches a Fencing Bylaw under the Planning Act faces a $300.00 fine where in my view a high fence blocking sunlight is more of a nuisance than a sex worker.
This Bylaw as it stands is a waste of Rate Payers time and money. There is soo many more pressing issues that council could be focused on. This Bylaw is illegal under NZ Laws under Freedom of Expression. I hope Hamilton City Council can see the importance of utilising more modern methods such as amending or removing this Bylaw to regulate the sex industry.
People closest to a problem know how to solve the problem.
I am the ONLY sex worker talking up and protesting this Bylaw today on behalf of all sex workers working currently in New Zealand that visit hamilton for work and do not want this Bylaw or to be discriminated against or to be segregated.
We want to be the inclusive city that Andrew King envisages when he made his speech as Mayor in 2017.
Bob McCoskrie from Family First and Bert & Robyn Jackson concerned residents in Hamilton: you claim sex workers need protection. This Bylaw does NOT protect sex workers. I think you’ve been watching too many movies! You mention sleeze… is my outfit sleezy?
Paula Salisbury from Mothers For Safe Suberbs attended with her baby: you are exposing your own baby to this matter by bringing your baby. You state you feel safe in your home with sex workers away from your home. Sex workers need to be given that same right to feel safe. You claim us sex workers do drugs and we have sex with children in our homes. And how was your baby born? In the bedroom. We don’t expose children to our job like you have with your baby today.
Everyone that spoke against prostitutes in Hamilton City Council stated today they don’t want sex workers in Hamilton in:
- industrial areas
Where are you proposing we work and do our legal job?