Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:52 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - New Zealand

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - New Zealand, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3cb23.html [accessed 3 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

New Zealand (Tier 1)

New Zealand is a source country for the internal trafficking of a small number of women within the country for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Additionally, New Zealand is a destination country for a significant number of foreign women from Malaysia, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, and other countries in Asia, who are illegally in the commercial sex trade. Some of these women may be trafficking victims. Estimates of international trafficking victims are modest; there have been reports of debt bondage and confiscation of documents among women in prostitution.

The Government of New Zealand fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government actively works to investigate and prevent illegal migration and trafficking through the work of its overseas missions, as well as border screening and police enforcement at home. It has also initiated a process to develop a National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and is currently working to finalize the plan and solicit input from NGOs. That plan will build public understanding and support for the investigative, prevention, and enforcement activities undertaken by the New Zealand government. The government continued to ensure that short-term shelter, witness protection, medical services, and repatriation assistance would be available to victims of trafficking. The government also demonstrated sustained efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. The government should expeditiously adopt and enact the National Plan of Action. In addition, law enforcement should seek through the Action Plan increased collaboration with civil society groups to gather information on brothels employing foreign women and to conduct investigations to determine if they include victims of trafficking. The government should increase efforts to measure the extent to which foreign women and children under the age of 18 may fall victim to sex trafficking, aggressively prosecute cases and ensure that traffickers receive sentences consistent with the heinous nature of the offense, and increase efforts to prosecute and convict those who profit from this trade or exploit minors.

Prosecution

The Government of New Zealand continued law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons. New Zealand prohibits sex trafficking and labor trafficking through Part 5 of the 1961 Crimes Act. The 2003 Prostitution Reform Act legalized prostitution for those over the age of 18 and also decriminalized solicitation. Other laws criminalize receiving financial gain from an act involving children exploited in prostitution and prohibit child sex tourism. Penalties prescribed for trafficking are sufficiently stringent, and penalties for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, ranging up to 20 years' imprisonment, are commensurate with those for rape. While there have been no prosecutions under New Zealand's anti-trafficking law, which requires movement across an international border, instances of internal trafficking can be prosecuted under New Zealand's laws on forced labor, slavery, other forms of abuse, and the Prostitution Reform Act. In 2006, eight people were prosecuted and convicted on charges under the Prostitution Reform Act for offenses relating to prostitution of persons less than 18 years of age. In addition, three brothel operators and one client were prosecuted and convicted for the use of persons under age 18 in prostitution. One brothel owner was sentenced to 21 months' imprisonment; another brothel owner was sentenced to 300 hours of community service, and his secretary to 180 hours of community service; the client was sentenced to one to two years' imprisonment. These penalties were inadequate. There is no evidence of public officials' complicity in trafficking in New Zealand.

Protection

The Government of New Zealand continues to ensure that short-term shelter, witness protection, medical services, and repatriation assistance are available to victims of trafficking. The government solicits the cooperation of victims as long as it does not jeopardize the success of proceedings. The government reports that a system is in place to evaluate victim status on a case-by-case basis. Temporary permits, including limited purpose permits, can be provided to victims of trafficking in individual cases. There were no reports of trafficked victims who were jailed, fined, or deported. There are several services available for minors involved in or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. New Zealand funds protection programs in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the UN Inter-Agency Project (UNIAP) on trafficking in the Mekong Sub-region.

Prevention

The Government of New Zealand demonstrated sustained efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. The government remained active in several regional and international efforts to prevent, monitor, and control trafficking. The government assists with initiatives undertaken by ECPAT to educate travel agents about legislation and awareness of child sex tourism. The government's foreign assistance agency, NZAID, continued providing substantial resources to source countries and international organizations for capacity building, prevention, and services for victims of trafficking.

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