The world's first transsexual mayor, former street prostitute Georgina Beyer, admitted yesterday she was naive when the trade was legalised.
At a passionate public forum in Papatoetoe yesterday, South Auckland residents berated MPs for not addressing the notorious street prostitution problems around Hunters Corner.
MPs from National, Labour and New Zealand First spoke. Beyer, a former Carterton mayor and Labour MP who championed the push to decriminalise sex work a decade ago, said lawmakers glossed over the issue. "We thought, naively, that with the liberalisation of prostitution, that it would not be desirable necessarily to be a street worker."
Beyer said she recently told Justice Minister Judith Collins the Government should amend the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act to address street prostitution.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said human traffickers were probably involved in the importation of prostitutes.
"My Asian informants tell me how rampant it is," Peters said.
NZ Prostitutes Collective's Anna Pickering dismissed trafficking claims and also said there was no need for a law change.
Reports of underage street workers have fired up a residents.
"It's disgusting, it's disgraceful and ... there's a social problem here," said Ross Robertson, Labour's Manukau East MP.