There were 22 of us at Gay Wellington's monthly meeting on July 17th (from 6pm to 7pm).
Calum from the NZ Prostitutes Collective was the guest speaker. He managed to keep us entertained for an hour by presenting facts and figures and answering an avalanche of questions.
We learnt that prostitution was decriminalised in NZ in 2003 and our laws are now some of the most liberal in the world. Based on a 2007 survey, 85% of NZ prostitutes are female, 9% are male and 6% are trans. The most usual age is 20-24, then 18-19, then 25-29 and then 30+. About 83% are indoor and 17% are outdoor workers. In Wellington there are about 32 prostitutes who are regularly on the streets.
We even learnt the difference between BOOBS and SOOBS (Big Owner Operator Brothels and Small Owner Operated Brothels). According to the survey, earning money is the most common reason for taking up prostitution. A high proportion of male prostitutes also give sexual experimentation as a reason.
The research didn't provide any information about clients. Though we know some people who think they may be same-sex attracted do become clients to help figure out their own sexuality.
And a final thought in case you're thinking of taking this up as a secondary job - you need to be very self-confident. If you're not, sex work probably isn't for you.
Check out the NZPC website if you want to know more.