New Zealand workers in the world's so-called oldest profession have been given a set of health and safety guidelines.
The Labour Department's Occupational Safety and Health service (OSH) has issued a new health and safety guide for the sex industry which will help protect workers, clients, and public health.
OSH spokesman Mike Cosman said the development of A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry was recommended by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee when it was considering the Prostitution Reform legislation last year.
OSH developed the guide in consultation with the Prostitutes Collective, industry representatives, ACC, the Ministry of Health, the police, and Local Government NZ.
It was largely based on health and safety guidelines produced for the Australian sex industry and is intended for sex industry owner/operators and employers, sex industry workers, and those who are self-employed.
A broad range of topics, including sex worker health, security and safety from violence, and how to report accidents or incidents of harm are covered.
The guide has been welcomed by sex workers.
"This is something we couldn't develop before the change in legislation," said Catherine Healy of the Prostitutes Collective.
"Now we can offer a lot of practical advice that will support sex workers in working safely."
Mr Cosman said the issues of health and safety for sex workers and clients were very serious, and some, such as the risk of sexually transmitted infections, had serious public health implications.
Since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed into law, the sex industry operated under the same health and safety rules as any New Zealand industry, he said.
Acting Director of Public Health Dr Douglas Lush said the guide would be a valuable resource for the sex industry to understand how to meet its health and safety requirements, including how to protect sex workers and their clients from the risk of infection by adopting and promoting safer sex practices.
Herald Feature: Prostitution Law Reform
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