Brothels in My Backyard

Every now and then, I get a letter in the post from the Mt Victoria Resident’s Association about Brothels in Mt Victoria.

I have a bone to pick with these people in the first place, because I am dead certain one day when I was walking up Majorie Banks street in bare feet after swimming, the lady that followed me up berating me was a card-holding member of the Association.

Last night I received a petition, complete with newspaper cut outs from the ladies advertising their services in OUR neighborhood. Claire and I wondered who would go to this extreme to keep brothels out of our area.

I have various moral qualms with prostitution, but the fact that it is or isn’t in my street doesn’t really affect me.

For some reason, it sparked my interest. After quickly calculating the economics last night:

  • Prostitutes probably work 5 day weeks like the rest of us
  • In each day, you’d probably hope to see about 3 clients (I think this is conservative, but am thinking that their work is somewhat more demanding that most of ours
  • In a month, this gives you 20 clients per prostitute. (UPDATE: Actually this is 60. I am unsure where I got 20 from)
  • How many would be repeat customers? I have no idea, but lets say once a month is average
  • Now for this ‘commercial sized’ brothel, we are petitioning against, you would assume, there must be about 4-5 prostitutes working? That’s like 100 unique people a month

Would the customers be local or not? I assume that convenience is probably rated lower than discreetness with this form of client, but you never know. However, given that rents are so high in my area, you would assume any brothel in Mt Vic is fairly high class.

Lets say 100 people a month visit the brothel. Lets say they are all fairly wealthy individuals, given the area (This is an assumption). Chances are, they know a lot of people in Mt Vic (for goodness sake, you bump into everyone you know in Wellington weekly). Would you still go to the brothel?

I suspect people probably would. And I suspect the reason the rich residents get all up in arms is because they can no longer pretend there is this social underbelly they are not part of.

So I welcome Brothels to my backyard. I hope they set up shop and shutdown myths we have that allow us to close our eyes to their existence.

I also hope that as good neighbors, we watch out for the people working in them. They are not the problem, they are simply fulfilling a demand.

And because of my own, personal beliefs, I hope that the fact they are situated in among families makes people who use them think twice before entering, about what they are doing and why.

5 thoughts on “Brothels in My Backyard”

  1. I think you lost the factor of three clients a day. That would be 60 clients a month, not 20.

    Morality is an interesting question. It would be great if everyone had long term partners (ideally lifelong) who satisfied their every desire. Back in the real world of friday night “hookups” (which I’m sure your Resident’s Association would disapprove of) I find it very hard morally to distinguish someone who says “buy me dinner and take me to a show/club/concert and I’ll sleep with you” from someone who says “don’t take me out, just give me the money directly”.

    Pimps and/or madams who keep naive and powerless women in semi-slavery are of course an evil that should be stamped out, regardless.

  2. My attitude is that the Association should spend its efforts petitioning central government rather than target what is now a legal activity, unless there are zoning issues about commercial properties in a residential area. The interesting thing is I know where one of them is, and no, it’s not your street. And I hasten to add that the reason I know is because of the immediate neighbour being a friend of a friend, and not personal experience or being friends with a madam.

  3. I actually know the exact address as well. The residents association told me in their petition ( You caught me out on a slight exaggeration!).

    GREAT free advertising. I bet the brothel is thanking them

    Bruce, I was never a maths wizz, but funnily enough, the calculations I did last night were correct, I just mucked up today.

    I agree with you both. To be honest, I sometimes think the residents association needs to move on or get over themselves… But that’s mostly because of the woman who harassed me about my bare feet.

    The morality of prostitution is a bit weird. I think you’re correct Bruce, the line is so thin. To solve prostitution would be to solve a society where people are looking for all the wrong things in each other, and from what I hear, prostitutes themselves are more therapists than anything else. Which is why it’s probably not the end of the world to have a brothel in our neighborhood.

  4. One of the big issues surrounding legalization, from what I recall, was that prostitutes could not be protected from assault because they were engaged in illegal activity. Rather than go the whole hog with legalization, it could have been a good halfway-house position to at least extend police powers to protect the prostitution industry. You are right, Nat: ‘To solve prostitution would be to solve a society where people are looking for all the wrong things in each other’. In this society, we have problems—and it perhaps is not surprising that prostitution is legal.

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