My name is Zelda and I am a full service sex worker with experience both as an independent and an agency escort; I am writing in response to your article regarding the NZPC and the fight for migrant workers rights. An article that is not only incredibly misleading but has the potential to increase harmful stigma against sex workers like myself.
Like many sex workers within my community, I was disappointed to read something that claimed to represent ‘’New Zealand sex workers’’ based wholly on the uninformed and unsupported view of Lisa Lewis, two other escorts and Family First ⎯ a party that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers and even supports a “healthy stigma against” us.
Any group that believes our job SHOULD incite others to direct dangerous discrimination and prejudice towards us, can not claim to represent our voices.
Of the hundreds of escorts I have spoken to, not one of them shares Lisa Lewis’s vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC. The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which appear to come from non-sex-workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers voices currently active in New Zealand, would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful.
The NZPC are an incredibly vital foundation of the sex worker community. They provide advocacy, free healthcare, consent information, counselling and legal assistance to people, like myself ,who may otherwise struggle to find support in a highly marginalised and often attacked industry.
Even as a relatively privileged sex worker I am extremely grateful for the NZPC, who allow me to practice safe, consensual work and maintain a healthy practice.
For those less privileged then myself, the NZPC is even more vital in providing tools and education to ensure that all Sex Work is being performed in a healthy, consenting and safe way.
The NZPC’s support of migrant workers, who typically face more discrimination and are put in danger due to the threat of deportation or blackmail, is something that many sex workers, including myself, support.
Singling out sex work as the only illegal work while on a work visa in New Zealand only encourages the idea that sex work is somehow different (or ‘less moral’) than other jobs, which hurts all sex workers.
The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers” as Lewis’s letter claims, they are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry.
Attacking the rights of foreign sex workers leads to exploitation; Where boundaries are pushed and workers are unable to speak out or report abusive clients or unsafe work practices.
This doesn’t sound like the “environment conducive to public health” that Lewis claims to speak for.
I do not know of many sex workers who would wish to put the safety and agency of other workers at risk because they are afraid of added competition.
My success as a sex worker does not depend on attacking or harming more vulnerable workers or denying them a voice, rights or access to the tools and safety that I often take for granted.
Through my experience of working as a sex worker and my communication with hundreds of others within the community, I can safely say that Lisa Lewis does not speak for us.
The vast majority of Sex Workers in this country support the NZPC and the voices of a few disparate and highly privileged sex workers who may not need the same support as others, will not change this.
As a proud sex worker I stand with my community and support the safety and rights of all Sex Workers within the country, and as such I stand with the NZPC.