Report puts spotlight on NZ sex-trafficking

Stuff 9 June 2014
A Hamilton couple are being noticed by key government figures for taking a stand against child sex trafficking in New Zealand.

A report about the subject by Shimal Sataiya and Mark Calderwood was recently referred to in a general debate in Parliament and awaits further discussion by MPs.

In its 2012 Trafficking in Persons report, the United States Department of State said New Zealand was a source country for underage girls subjected to internal sex trafficking, Sataiya said.

The Ministry of Justice website states the New Zealand definition of trafficking requires international movement.

New Zealand is likely to categorise forcible movement of people within the country as kidnapping, slavery, or other related forms of offending.

Sataiya said evidence from Supreme Court Judge Susan Glazebrook said about 200 under 18-year-olds were working illegally within the sex industry in New Zealand.

“My argument is, so many people are ignorant about it happening in New Zealand – it makes it even more of a danger,” Sataiya said.

The US report also said a number of Pacific Island and Maori children were being trafficked within New Zealand by gang-controlled trafficking rings.

Sataiya said child sex trafficking in New Zealand was an issue that needed addressing. “The law can’t do much, so change needs to come from people being more aware of this.”

She said the pair would also like to see harsher penalties for trafficking and for the Government to redefine the terms surrounding the issue to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks.

Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse spoke last week at the Prevent People Trafficking Conference in Porirua. He said the Government “remains alert to the possibility of trafficking occurring here”.