Police resolved a dispute between a sex worker and a client who refused to pay — by escorting the man to a cash machine to settle his $100 bill.
The client had refused to pay the woman who had been working on Maich Rd in Manurewa, South Auckland, on Thursday night.
Police settled the matter by driving the man home to get his wallet, taking him to an ATM and then delivering the cash to the worker.
Prostitutes Collective Auckland co-ordinator Annah Pickering was checking on prostitutes in the area and was amazed to see the exchange unfold. "I was parked up and saw it all happen like a movie," Pickering said. "We have heard of this happening in the city anecdotally, but to see it happen in front of you is one in a million."
Pickering, an advocate for prostitutes' rights, was handing out condoms to workers on the street and got talking to the sex worker, a woman in her 30s.
"I didn't get into the details of what the transaction was over or what the request was for the job," Pickering said. "But it was a dispute over him paying." Pickering later saw police in the car with the man and watched as they waited while he withdrew money from the ATM.
"I drove back to the worker later and she said the police officer took the client to his home to get his wallet and then he made sure he paid the worker what she was owed."
Pickering praised police for defusing the situation and protecting the sex worker's rights to be paid "like any other worker".
A Counties Manukau police spokesperson said the incident was common. "It sounds remarkable but it is a routine thing. Police would help any citizen having a disagreement whether they were a sex-worker or working in a pizza shop," Katherine Manaton said.