A Papatoetoe community group is fighting to get prostitutes off the area's streets. While Manukau City Council has another crack at making street prostitution illegal, a community group is confronting street walkers and their kerb-crawling customers in a notorious red light area of south Auckland.
The Papatoetoe Community Patrol is trying to scare off prostitutes' customers at Hunter's Corner by breaking up their negotiations and warning them of health dangers.
"These people are unregulated. Some of them carry diseases, so there's a risk not only to the client but also the client's partner," patrol member Stephen Grey told Sunday News.
In just over a year, three members of the 15-strong patrol group have been assaulted and they've had to change their patrol car three times because prostitutes have lashed out with weapons, the newspaper reported.
"The cars we use get considerable damage on them," Mr Grey said.
"They take to them with rocks, take to them with shopping trolleys, take to them with crow bars, kick them, kick the tail lights in."
The group is also sending the prostitutes' clients letters, tracking them down through their car registration plates.
Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said she found the group's actions "astounding".
"We're really upset this is happening," she said. "It's harassment. The men aren't law breakers, assuming they are seeking someone over the age of 16."
There had been similar action taken around the country, Ms Healy said, but this was the first time a "formal, organised group" had targeted street prostitutes.
Last week Manukau City Council's policy and activities committee decided to recommend the council seek amendments to the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 to make street prostitution illegal.
In 2006 a bill, sponsored by Manurewa MP George Hawkins, that would have given the council the same powers was defeated in Parliament.
A 2005 report by the Prostitution Law Review Committee estimated there were 423 sex workers in Manukau, of whom 150 were on the street. The report also found that street prostitution was the most likely entry point for underage people to the sex industry.