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Sex workers: Your rights

Changing jobs

Stopping sex work – it’s your choice

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, ss 16–18

You can stop doing sex work any time you want. It’s illegal to force someone to do sex work, or to force them to keep doing it.

No-one can make you stop doing sex work (though if you’re under 18 it’s illegal for them to help you do it).

No stand-down when you go on a benefit

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, s 18

If you stop doing sex work and apply to Work and Income to go on a benefit, you won’t have to go through a stand-down period before you start getting your benefit payments.

This is different from the usual rule that applies – most people have a stand-down of one to two weeks before they start getting the benefit. For rules about benefits generally, see the chapter “Dealing with Work and Income”.

Coming off a benefit or ACC – you can’t be pressured back into sex work

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, s 18

If Work and Income or ACC are trying to help you get off a benefit or ACC compensation and back into work, they can’t pressure you to go back to sex work if you don’t want to.

Getting support from the NZ Prostitutes Collective

If you need support dealing with Work and Income when you stop doing sex work, contact the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. They know a lot about the laws in this area, and they can even come with you to see Work and Income.

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