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Sex workers say they are struggling to balance the privacy of their clients with the need to record contact tracing information.

While the industry got the go-ahead to restart last Thursday, many workers have been reluctant to resume regular intimacy straight away.

Wellington escort Hollie* is sitting idle on a backlog of booking requests, uncertain about the advice of the Prostitutes Collective and WorkSafe to collect the date, time and location of bookings – including every client’s name, phone number and email address.

“I don’t see many of my clients being fine with giving their real name and their numbers. There’s probably a couple of clients that are cool with it, but I’d say the majority won’t really be down for that,” she said.

Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Dame Catherine Healy acknowledged that could be a problem – especially for independent workers – but said her advice was still a firm “no” to anyone who was refusing to provide contact information.

“It’s for the community’s wellbeing as well as [clients] and sex workers own wellbeing,” she said.

However Healy said many agencies had existing contact tracing solutions to deal with possible HIV infection, which could be adapted for Covid-19.

“There’s the good old fashioned system of writing down your number, like we’re all doing at cafes, then putting it in a box that remains sealed so nobody gets to see – unless there’s a Covid outbreak, in which case, handing data over to the health protection folk who absolutely work to very high standards,” she said.


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