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NZEALAND-SEXTRADE
WELLINGTON Sapa-DPA

NEW ZEALAND LAWMAKERS MAKE PROSTITUTION LEGAL BY ONE VOTE
  
New Zealand politicians made prostitution legal by one vote in a
cliffhanger ballot in parliament in Wellington on Wednesday night.

The legislators, who were allowed a personal conscience vote free of party political allegiances, passed the Prostitution Reform Bill by 60 to 59, with one abstention.

The bill repeals long-standing bans on soliciting, pimping and
running brothels and allows the establishment of premises licensed for the sex trade. The businesses can only employ people aged at least 18 and must practice safe sex to avoid transmitting disease.

Churches mounted a futile last ditch campaign to persuade MPs to
vote against the new law which was supported by groups representing prostitutes, family planners, rape crisis workers and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA).

They argued that prostitution existed already but it was not
controlled and the country's estimated 8,000 sex workers should not be treated as criminals.

The final debate featured an emotional speech by government
back-bencher Georgina Beyer, a transexual and former prostitute,
who begged MPs to support the bill for the sake of all the sex
workers she had known who died before they were 2 years old.

The bill, which was sponsored by gay government MP Tim Barnett,
provides legal health and workplace safeguards for prostitutes and
makes it illegal to force them into the sex trade.

Brothels will have to be certified in a bid to screen out criminals and organised crime.
  
Source : Sapa-DPA