Auckland Escorts: What New Zealand’s Sex Work Actually Looks Like
With some of the most liberal laws regarding sex work in the world, Auckland escorts set the example of what sex positivity really looks like.
Glamourous isn’t a word that often describes sex work. Healthy, happy, and safe also also adjectives you don’t often see conjoined with the concept of “prostitution”. However, in the country that just seems to keep getting it right, sex workers have reported overwhelmingly positive experiences within the sex work sphere of New Zealand. From brothels, to in-call, and pro-sex worker ad agencies like Naughty Ads, New Zealand is one of the safest places for a sex worker to call home.
“It’s not perfect. There is still stigma about street work, problems with underage workers, and even some safety concerns, but overall– it’s a positive environment, and one that seems to just keeps getting better.” Julie*, an Auckland escort of 5 years talks about her experiences as we more closely examine the favorable legislature that made this space available to women, men, and transgenders in the sex work community.
Safety and Security of the Auckland Escort
While Julie started working as an escort in Auckland well after the Prostitution Reform Act of 2003 came into action, says that she has still been able to see sex work evolve in a beneficial way in her home country of New Zealand.
“I started in 2016, my mate and I decided to start a small business brothel– we call them SOOBs– together. We worked out of our apartment and each advertised on various escort directories on the internet. We were smart about it, coordinated schedules, made sure to check in with one another. We were also really proactive about our own sexual health, and the health of our clients.” She laughs, remembering her enterprising spirit. “Not that much of that has changed now, but we just felt like we had this really great plan and platform at young ages.”
Julie says that her flat mate was 19 and she was 18 when they began working in Auckland’s thriving sex work community. Recalling how empowering it felt to be able to refer to herself and her friend as “entrepreneurs”, and actually mean it. The girls enjoyed the protections of New Zealand’s liberal sex solicitation laws. They felt safe, they rarely had any traumatic or horrible experiences. Her friend left the business last year, getting married and starting a family. Julie still works as an Auckland escort, having “risen through the ranks” and become what is considered a high-end escort and courtesan.
Stigma and Law
“I think what really made the biggest impact on my experience was that because of these laws that were in place, I felt accepted by my community. There’s definitely still some stigma towards sex workers here, particularly those that work the streets, or have addiction issues, but largely– it’s a really supportive community.” Julie says that thanks to the internet, normalizing culture of regulation, and the ability to work from home or associate with brothels without concerns of legal repercussion, sex work in New Zealand is incredibly safe for anyone who “wants it to be.”
“There are still women, men, even transgender individuals that are stuck in survival mode. Feeling like they sell their bodies because they have no other options.” Whether it’s the trauma of feeling forced into the life, associating with the wrong circles, or finding solace in dangerous habits, there is still a long way to go in convincing the world that sex work is a legitimate occupation. But women like Julie– ones that enjoy their career, make decent money, practice safely and in accordance with law– exist. And they’re quickly becoming the norm.
“I think my perspective on the industry at large is somewhat biased.” She admits, with no hint of reluctance. “I’ve never experienced any physical abuse. There have been a few times when someone has said some harsh things to me in public, but other than that, my experience has been really positive.”
What It’s Really Like to Be an Auckland Escort
Julie intimates that because of the laws regarding sex work, she’s been able to discuss her occupation with both friends and family, while there were some rough patches early on she does say that her family “eventually came around” to accept her and her occupation. “Honestly, escorting is something I genuinely enjoy. It’s something that allows me to live the life I want. It fits well with my current aspirations.”
While she does admit that she understands it’s unlikely something that she’ll continue doing throughout her life, Julie says that she has “a few ideas” about where she could go in the future, freely talking about her interest in psychology and sociology. “But for now, I’m just really happy with where my life is at. I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m responsible with my income. I’m in a good space, and I have really great clients.”
To which she thanks the legislation of her country. “Like I said, it’s not perfect, but I’ve ‘featured’ in other countries. Gone to other places with clients, done some holiday jobs… and while New Zealand still has its issues, they’re nothing compared to countries that don’t represent their sex workers in the same way.” So, while other countries struggle to find a balance between regulation and legalization, New Zealand may once again provide beneficial framework for how the world can improve the lives of sex workers and their clients.