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Homeless Wahine Maori and survival sex: An emerging link?

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Parity, 30(8), 10

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This paper sheds light on the alarming situation of homeless Māori women in New Zealand, particularly focusing on the issue of survival sex.

Kake highlights the gaps in policy development and service provision for Māori women, who are disproportionately affected by homelessness and housing insecurity. The paper discusses the vulnerability of these women to sexual exploitation as they engage in survival sex to achieve economic stability. Factors contributing to their vulnerability include a background of lower socio-economic status, young age, multiple children, and a history of abuse, system involvement, family dysfunction, and gang involvement. Kake notes the well-documented link between sexual/domestic violence and homelessness and suggests a similar connection between housing insecurity and sexual exploitation, especially among young women. Despite the lack of specific studies on Māori women, the paper asserts a probable overlap given their overrepresentation in homelessness, sexual exploitation, and violence. Kake calls for a more nuanced understanding of this issue, raising critical questions about the proportion of Māori women in survival sex, their access to culturally appropriate services, and the alternatives available to them. The paper advocates for differentiated data collection in future censuses and consistent data collation to develop effective policies supporting both mainstream and Māori service providers. A coordinated approach involving various governmental ministries and agencies is deemed crucial for addressing this complex issue effectively.

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