Victims of trafficking ‘need to seek help’

The Dominion Post 07/09/2009

A high-profile Auckland lawyer says human trafficking is happening in New Zealand, but the Labour Department says it can do little unless victims come forward. Jeremy Bioletti, who represented two clients he says were brought to New Zealand from Ukraine to work as prostitutes, said police should have protected them instead of prosecuting them. His first client endured three jury trials with no convictions after she was found to be in possession of a false passport. She had been accompanied to New Zealand by a “minder” and had been put to work as a prostitute before she was arrested. “She came to me after depositions in her first trial because she’d been advised to plead guilty. We felt that as a victim of trafficking she shouldn’t have been prosecuted, so that’s how we defended her.”