Couple face up to seven years in jail for running under age prostitutes ring

Stuff co.nz 15 January 2017
Family First Comment: The Prostitutes Collective say this is rare – but it’s not. It’s just that the police struggle to be able to investigate under the silly laws. As quoted by an expert…
“Until New Zealand acknowledges that people are being forced or coerced to provide sexual favours for other people’s profit, professionals aren’t going to be on the lookout for these types of situations.”
Exactly

An Auckland father of two and the mother of his children have been charged with helping underage women into sex work.

The 33 year-old man and his 23-year-old fiancee jointly face three charges laid under the Prostitution Reform Act of assisting three young people into providing commercial sexual services.

The young women named in the court documents are aged 15, 16, and 17 and were allegedly helped into the work in 2015 and 2016.

Under the Act it is illegal to pay sex workers under the age of 18, or to employ them.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

The pair are yet to enter a plea and have been bailed to reappear in the Auckland District Court at the end of January. They were granted name suppression at earlier appearances.

Both declined to comment on the charges, but said the situation was “complicated”.

“As I’m sure you can understand the privacy for our young children are paramount. As you have already described the charge is unusual and very complicated,” the Auckland man said.

Prostitutes’ Collective national coordinator Catherine Healy said it was unusual to hear of people being prosecuted for assisting young people into sex work.

She believed the majority of licensed brothel owners and operators did their due diligence when it came to employing workers, but there had been instances where licensees had been duped by fake IDs, she said.

Under current legislation, police must obtain a warrant before they can check on the ages of brothel workers, Healy said.

“I know that these critics would like to see the police go into brothels to check that they’re all over 18 and we had that system and it failed dismally. It was just ridiculous. It was silly. It didn’t work at all,” she said.

Academic and forced prostitution researcher Natalie Thorburn said there was a lack of awareness among agencies about what constituted sex trafficking or exploitation.

“As a nation, we’re now a lot more comfortable with responding to family violence and to sexual violence – now we need to see that same progress with categories of crime that don’t fit neatly into those types of violence,” she said.

“At present, it doesn’t seem to be something we actively look for or have a lot of knowledge about how to responding to.

“Until New Zealand acknowledges that people are being forced or coerced to provide sexual favours for other people’s profit, professionals aren’t going to be on the lookout for these types of situations.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/87990066/Couple-face-up-to-seven-years-in-jail-for-running-under-age-prostitutes-ring?cid=app-iPhone
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