The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) formed in 1987 with the intention of reforming the policy that governed prostitution. The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 was created to protect sex workers from exploitation and to give them the same rights as other workers by protecting their occupation health and safety. It is an example of community empowerment in which a small and relatively powerless group of women strived to achieve social justice and equity for all sex workers. This article provides, for the first time, the story of how the NZPC was not only able to decriminalize prostitution but also to form a framework that safeguarded the rights of all sex workers in New Zealand. It is a fascinating case study that provides insightful information into how one civil society group had a direct influence on public policy. The implications of the case study to health promotion practice are discussed and will be of interest to planners and practitioners involved in the strengthening of community empowerment.
- health promotion
- sex workers