For Brothel Operators

 

If you are considering starting a brothel, or you work with sex workers in your job, NZPC can provide valuable information.

We support sex workers to have options in how they work, and brothels to provide safe and sustainable working environments, free from exploitation, coercion, and fines. We can provide you with resources that help your business to stay within the law and provide a safe and sound venue to seek employment.

People who have run businesses in other industries may not appreciate the particular issues that arise relating to sex work. There can be unforeseen hurdles in hiring people to work with you, and in meeting legal obligations.

For Brothel Operators

 

If you are considering starting a brothel, or you work with sex workers in your job, NZPC can provide valuable information.

We support sex workers to have options in how they work, and brothels to provide safe and sustainable working environments, free from exploitation, coercion, and fines. We can provide you with resources that help your business to stay within the law and provide a safe and sound venue to seek employment.

People who have run businesses in other industries may not appreciate the particular issues that arise relating to sex work. There can be unforeseen hurdles in hiring people to work with you, and in meeting legal obligations.

NZPC provides information on the laws around operating a brothel, including

  • Who can operate a brothel
  • Council zoning
  • Hiring sex workers
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Tax obligations
  • The principal contractor/contractor relationship
  • Applying for a Brothel Operators Certificate
  • The New Zealand Legal Model

We have resources which help brothel operators achieve best practice, and can direct you to important statutory information about certification and occupational health and safety.

NZPC has more than three decades of expertise in the sex industry, and is committed to maintaining constructive relationships with brothel operators throughout New Zealand.

All Business Code of Conduct (The Business ABC)

Many New Zealand sex industry businesses, both big and small, are committed to conducting their affairs with the highest ethical and legal standards. NZPC developed The Business ABC with sex workers and brothel operators. It sets best practise guidelines for sex work businesses. It contains information about upholding rights and conditions, prevention of violence, hiring and contracting workers, privacy, workplace practices, alcohol and other drugs, as well as combating stigma.

The Business ABC is designed to be hung in your premises, for sex workers and other staff to view.

You can view and download the Business ABC from our Resources page, or contact us to obtain a poster of the Code, learn more about implementing it, or provide feedback for future amendments.

NZPC provides information on the laws around operating a brothel, including

  • Who can operate a brothel
  • Council zoning
  • Hiring sex workers
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Tax obligations
  • The principal contractor/contractor relationship
  • Applying for a Brothel Operators Certificate
  • The New Zealand Legal Model

We have resources which help brothel operators achieve best practice, and can direct you to important statutory information about certification and occupational health and safety.

NZPC has more than three decades of expertise in the sex industry, and is committed to maintaining constructive relationships with brothel operators throughout New Zealand.

All Business Code of Conduct (The Business ABC)

Many New Zealand sex industry businesses, both big and small, are committed to conducting their affairs with the highest ethical and legal standards. NZPC developed The Business ABC with sex workers and brothel operators. It sets best practise guidelines for sex work businesses. It contains information about upholding rights and conditions, prevention of violence, hiring and contracting workers, privacy, workplace practices, alcohol and other drugs, as well as combating stigma.

The Business ABC is designed to be hung in your premises, for sex workers and other staff to view.

You can view and download the Business ABC from our Resources page, or contact us to obtain a poster of the Code, learn more about implementing it, or provide feedback for future amendments.

Health and Safety for Sex Work Workplaces

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA ) requires all people who are conducting business or undertaking (PCBUs) to uphold health and safety practices for those in the workplace. This applies to all employers, self-employed people, as well as principal contractors and therefore businesses who contract sex workers.


This means that if you are a brothel operator, leaseholder, person managing a room rental collective, or a sex worker, you have health and safety obligations.

All sex workers can refuse work, change their mind, or withdraw consent without giving any reason – this is in the Prostitution Reform Act (2003). In addition, all workers can legally refuse to work if they deem it unsafe according to HSWA .

In a nutshell:


FOR OPERATORS/ROOM RENTAL MANAGEMENT

Your primary duty of care for health and safety is the same whether you employ people or contract them in, and whether the contracts are verbal or written.

HSWA requires you to identify and manage work-related risks.  Risks you must manage include:

  • health risks  (e.g. risk of exposure to STIs, chemicals, and fatigue or overuse injuries, etc),
  • psychosocial risks (e.g. coercion, stress, trauma, harassment)
  • safety risks  (e.g. physical hazards in the workplace like risk of slipping in the shower, aggressive or intoxicated behaviour from clients,

 

Managing these risks should be done using an established risk management process and using a ‘hierarchy of controls’ process to determine how to best manage each risk  

 

You should assess all the hazards associated with the work and assess the risks those hazards present. You must then take steps to manage the risks using control measures.  Control measures include (in order of effectiveness):

  • Eliminating the risk
  • Make a substitution (eg swap for something safer).
  • Isolate the exposure to it (eg move the hazard away from workers)
  • Providing for physical control of it (eg put up a barrier around the hazard)
  • Providing administrative controls (eg rules, practices)
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE: e.g. condoms and lubricant)

 

You should select the most effective, reasonably practicable control measure to manage the risk.  Below are some examples of what would be considered reasonably practicable control measures for common risks associated with sex work.

 

In case of risk of contact with STIs when the mahi is full service

 

Eliminating it

->

Not practical

Make a substitution

->

Armpit sex instead? – not practical

Isolate the exposure to it

->

Not practical

Providing for physical control of it

->

Not practical

Providing administrative controls (rules, practices)

->

Policy of no sexual contact without prophylactics

Providing PPE

->

Provide condoms, dams, lube


 


 In another example, if you identify that workers are at risk of fatigue (health), or stress (psychosocial) you could:

  • Ensure you uphold workers’ rights to choose clients and services offered.
  • Ensure workers can leave or change their shifts when tired (without penalty)
  • Provide adequate break time and space for a nap/rest and/or making personal phone calls.
  • Manage shift lengths to avoid overworking.
  • Manage time between bookings to suit the worker.
  • Train management/desk staff to identify fatigue.

 

If you identify that workers are at risk of slipping in the shower (safety), you could

  • Ensure non-slip shower mats are in place.
  • Ensure policies/practices about not working while fatigued/intoxicated are followed.
  • Ensure polices/practices about not taking bookings from intoxicated clients are followed.
  • Install handrails in showers.
  • Consider signage to point out slippery surfaces.
  • Spray and wipe/towel dry after shower use to remove any slippery residue from soaps and creams.
  • Ensure first aid kit is fully stocked.

 

These are just basic examples of how you are expected to think through hazards and risks in the workplace.

 

Listening to your workers

All establishments (regardless of size, whether employers or contractors) are also required by law to facilitate worker representation in health and safety discussion if the workforce ask for it.
If the workers want just one representative, or a committee, you are required to facilitate that through an election process. You must also adopt their recommendations or respond in writing to explain why you haven’t.

Health and Safety Representatives | WorkSafe  and Health and Safety Committees | WorkSafe

 

General Risk and Workplace Management Regulations 2016

 

These regulations cover the basic facilities you are obliged to provide for workers in any workplace.  They include (but are not limited to):

  • toilets
  • drinking water
  • handwashing facilities
  • place to take a break
  • suitable ventilation
  • provision of PPE – condoms and lubricant
  • functional fire exits
  • appropriate temperature control
  • health and safety training

For more information see WorkSafe’s webpage:  General risk and workplace management - part 1 | WorkSafe

 

And of course

 

The PRA Obligations

You must:

  • Support the right to refuse clients or withdraw consent
  • Adopt, promote and support safer sex practices
  • Share health information and display safer sex information prominently

 

Health and Safety for Sex Work Workplaces

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA ) requires all people who are conducting business or undertaking (PCBUs) to uphold health and safety practices for those in the workplace. This applies to all employers, self-employed people, as well as principal contractors and therefore businesses who contract sex workers.


This means that if you are a brothel operator, leaseholder, person managing a room rental collective, or a sex worker, you have health and safety obligations.

All sex workers can refuse work, change their mind, or withdraw consent without giving any reason – this is in the Prostitution Reform Act (2003). In addition, all workers can legally refuse to work if they deem it unsafe according to HSWA .

In a nutshell:


FOR OPERATORS/ROOM RENTAL MANAGEMENT

Your primary duty of care for health and safety is the same whether you employ people or contract them in, and whether the contracts are verbal or written.

HSWA requires you to identify and manage work-related risks.  Risks you must manage include:

  • health risks  (e.g. risk of exposure to STIs, chemicals, and fatigue or overuse injuries, etc),
  • psychosocial risks (e.g. coercion, stress, trauma, harassment)
  • safety risks  (e.g. physical hazards in the workplace like risk of slipping in the shower, aggressive or intoxicated behaviour from clients,

 

Managing these risks should be done using an established risk management process and using a ‘hierarchy of controls’ process to determine how to best manage each risk  

 

You should assess all the hazards associated with the work and assess the risks those hazards present. You must then take steps to manage the risks using control measures.  Control measures include (in order of effectiveness):

  • Eliminating the risk
  • Make a substitution (eg swap for something safer).
  • Isolate the exposure to it (eg move the hazard away from workers)
  • Providing for physical control of it (eg put up a barrier around the hazard)
  • Providing administrative controls (eg rules, practices)
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE: e.g. condoms and lubricant)

 

You should select the most effective, reasonably practicable control measure to manage the risk.  Below are some examples of what would be considered reasonably practicable control measures for common risks associated with sex work.

 

In case of risk of contact with STIs when the mahi is full service

 

Eliminating it

->

Not practical

Make a substitution

->

Armpit sex instead? – not practical

Isolate the exposure to it

->

Not practical

Providing for physical control of it

->

Not practical

Providing administrative controls (rules, practices)

->

Policy of no sexual contact without prophylactics

Providing PPE

->

Provide condoms, dams, lube


 


 In another example, if you identify that workers are at risk of fatigue (health), or stress (psychosocial) you could:

  • Ensure you uphold workers’ rights to choose clients and services offered.
  • Ensure workers can leave or change their shifts when tired (without penalty)
  • Provide adequate break time and space for a nap/rest and/or making personal phone calls.
  • Manage shift lengths to avoid overworking.
  • Manage time between bookings to suit the worker.
  • Train management/desk staff to identify fatigue.

 

If you identify that workers are at risk of slipping in the shower (safety), you could

  • Ensure non-slip shower mats are in place.
  • Ensure policies/practices about not working while fatigued/intoxicated are followed.
  • Ensure polices/practices about not taking bookings from intoxicated clients are followed.
  • Install handrails in showers.
  • Consider signage to point out slippery surfaces.
  • Spray and wipe/towel dry after shower use to remove any slippery residue from soaps and creams.
  • Ensure first aid kit is fully stocked.

 

These are just basic examples of how you are expected to think through hazards and risks in the workplace.

 

Listening to your workers

All establishments (regardless of size, whether employers or contractors) are also required by law to facilitate worker representation in health and safety discussion if the workforce ask for it.
If the workers want just one representative, or a committee, you are required to facilitate that through an election process. You must also adopt their recommendations or respond in writing to explain why you haven’t.

Health and Safety Representatives | WorkSafe  and Health and Safety Committees | WorkSafe

 

General Risk and Workplace Management Regulations 2016

 

These regulations cover the basic facilities you are obliged to provide for workers in any workplace.  They include (but are not limited to):

  • toilets
  • drinking water
  • handwashing facilities
  • place to take a break
  • suitable ventilation
  • provision of PPE – condoms and lubricant
  • functional fire exits
  • appropriate temperature control
  • health and safety training

For more information see WorkSafe’s webpage:  General risk and workplace management - part 1 | WorkSafe

 

And of course

 

The PRA Obligations

You must:

  • Support the right to refuse clients or withdraw consent
  • Adopt, promote and support safer sex practices
  • Share health information and display safer sex information prominently

 

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