NZPA 3 July 2011
Under-age women are being forced into prostitution in New Zealand, a United States report on human trafficking shows. The annual Trafficking in Persons report said New Zealand was a destination country for women from Asian and Eastern European countries trafficked into forced prostitution. However, no new substantive information about such cases was discovered in the past year. The report cited a media report during the year which said women, including some from Malaysia, were recruited by labour agents. “But upon arrival in New Zealand, (they) are handed over to brothel owners, who confiscate their passports and force them into prostitution for up to 18 hours a day to repay the ‘loan’ of recruitment and transportation costs.” Child trafficking victims were found engaging in prostitution in brothels and on the street, some being closely controlled by local gangs, the report said. Asian and Pacific Island migrants working in sectors such as agriculture and nursing were charged excessive recruitment fees and had their passports confiscated. Asian fishermen were also allegedly victims of forced labour in New Zealand waters.
The report noted no independent research had been conducted to determine the full extent of the trafficking problem in New Zealand. It recommended the government study human trafficking and increase efforts to investigate and prosecute offenders.