During my rounds of various blog sites this evening I stumbled across a site in the UK that had an article about a small business in a small NZ township that was opening its doors to the public for one day in order to raise funds for a local charity. This has raised the ire of a conservative Christian group. Unfortunately they are angry for the wrong reason, and I’ll come to that shortly.
Until the late 1970s New Zealand was probably the most egalitarian society on earth. With a comprehensive social welfare system and full employment poverty was almost unknown. Now we are in the unenviable position of having that fastest growing divide between rich and poor in the OECD.
The fund raising event is for a charity that provides meals to school children whose families are unable to provide the necessary nourishment. That is what the Christian group Family First should be angry about. A society that denies disadvantaged families through no fault of their own the dignity of adequate meals for their children is something that should not be seen as acceptable in a modern liberal society.
But is Family First concerned about the rise in the number of families living below the poverty line in the face of increasing national wealth? Apparently not.
So what has upset Family First? It appears that they don’t like the nature of the business that is opening its doors for the day. It seems they would prefer children go hungry rather than allowing the public to learn how a seldom discussed business is run.
Admittedly, the type of business involved can be exploitative and is illegal in most parts of the world. Neither are are true here. It’s a legitimate business and can be found in almost every suburb in the country.
The business is a brothel and this is why Family First are so upset. But as they are firmly convinced that what goes on in private between consenting adults should be regulated and mostly banned, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by their reaction. No doubt they are firmly convinced that the plight of the disadvantaged is justly deserved punishment from God for undisclosed sins.
What I find fascinating is the number of articles this whole affair has raised in overseas publications, yet has received very little here. An extensive search of Google failed to find any NZ sources but dozens in overseas media including The Guardian and the Daily Mail. The only NZ publication I can find is the original article in the Taranaki Daily News.
While I’m no supporter of prostitution, it’s probably the oldest profession next to midwifery and unlikely to disappear any time soon. For that reason it’s better that it’s out in the open where employment laws can make it safe for all concerned. The alternatives leaves all those involved in the industry open to exploitation and control by the criminal world.
As far as I am concerned, the greater of the two “evils” is poverty, not prostitution.