The Prostitutes Collective says it's a tragedy five Christchurch sex workers have been killed in 15 years, including 34-year-old Bella Te Pania on New Year's Eve.
But Prostitutes Collective national coordinator Dame Catherine Healy
wants the spotlight to be on the perpetrators of violence, rather than
A man has been charged with Te Pania's murder, after she was found
critically injured near Christchurch Airport and died a short time
While the man awaits a High Court appearance next month, Healy said she
had been hearing about how much Te Pania meant to her friends and her
"She was also a volunteer with our organisation a number of years ago so
there are people in our organisation who are outreach workers who are
very deeply affected," she said.
After Te Pania's death, and those of other sex workers, the wider
community also had shown an outpouring of respect and support, Healy
However, she said that support needed to go further.
"It needs to go beyond times like this ... we should be examining what's
happening in our society that contributes. Sex workers are a part of
society and often there aren't very good attitudes towards sex workers,"
Although it can't be assumed the killer was a client, Healy said,
perpetrators of violence were very often left out of the discussion.
"Let's not forget ... this is someone who committed violence against a
sex worker. I think we need to remember that we have very violent people
with whom really have to work to make sure extreme violence doesn't
occur," she said.
Other sex workers killed in the city since 2005 are Renee Duckmanton,
Mellory Manning and Susie Sutherland, as well as another with name
The man accused of murdering Te Pania remains in custody until the High Court appearance on 7 February.
Police are still appealing for help finding two of her belongings - a
small light brown, shimmery bag, about 10cm x 20cm with a strap, and a
black Huawei cellphone with a cracked screen.
"If anyone has seen or found items matching those descriptions in the
Christchurch area from early Tuesday morning onwards, they are urged to
call police on 105", a spokesperson said.
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