Story: Sex work

Undercover police in parlours

While massage parlours were licensed under the Massage Parlours Act 1978, soliciting (offering sex for money) remained illegal. Undercover policemen would visit parlours in the 1970s and early 1980s posing as clients. They would charge parlour workers with soliciting if they offered sex for money (usually referred to as 'extras'). This sex worker describes her interaction with one of these undercover policemen. Once a woman had a conviction for prostitution, she could not legally be employed by a licensed massage parlour. The possibility of arrest and conviction had a major impact on women working in the sex industry.

Using this item

Top Shelf Productions
Reference: A Double Standard. Producer, Vincent Burke; director Clare O'Leary. Auckland: Top Shelf Productions, 1994.

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How to cite this page:

Jan Jordan, 'Sex work - Legislation and decriminalisation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 August 2022)

Story by Jan Jordan, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 31 May 2018