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The Christchurch City Council is organising its own investigation of apparently escalating under-age prostitution in the city. It follows inquiries that found up to 20 teenagers and children were working as prostitutes on city streets. Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said yesterday that the council had to find out what was actually happening. He had talked to different agencies about prostitution and it was unclear how many children might be involved.
Mr Moore said he had been assured no-one as young as 12 was working on the streets. We have a facilitating role to play," Mr Moore said. Councillor Carole Evans said she was "ashamed" by the media coverage of prostitution. Councillor Carole Anderton said what mattered was stopping the market for young prostitutes.
We cannot allow these young kids to be used like that. She volunteered to go down to Cathedral Square and paint the faces of men using the under-age prostitutes. Councillors recommended that the liaison group should meet in March and identify what, if any, issues needed to be addressed.
The council also agreed to ask for public submissions on its draft bylaw restricting brothels to the central city. Under the proposed bylaw brothels would be limited to a large zone within the bounds of the central city. Regulatory and consents committee chairwoman Sue Wells said there could be changes to the proposed bylaw once public submissions were received.
Up to eight massage parlours could be forced to close if the draft bylaw remains unchanged because they are outside the proposed zone. A report from law firm Simpson and Grierson said brothels that were forced to close by a bylaw could take legal action against the council.