U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - New Zealand

New Zealand (Tier 1)

New Zealand is a destination country for men and women trafficked from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and elsewhere; it also faces a large problem of children internally trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation. A multi-year study published in early 2004 identified 145 prostitutes working in New Zealand that were 15 years old or younger. Another report indicated that a majority of prostitutes who responded to a survey started in the trade before the age of 18. Some women smuggled into the country are forced into prostitution to repay substantial debts to traffickers.

The Government of New Zealand fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. New Zealand appears on this report for the first time as the result of newly available information indicating a significant number of trafficking victims.


New Zealand's laws criminalize trafficking, slavery and child sexual exploitation. Penalties for trafficking crimes are sufficiently severe. The Prostitution Reform Bill of 2003 legalized prostitution in New Zealand and attempts to clamp down on child sexual exploitation. There were three trafficking-related prosecutions in 2003. Criminal penalties for child exploitation, assisting in illegal migration, and for knowingly hiring unlawful workers can range as high as 20 years in prison and $350,000 in fines. New Zealand lacks a centralized data collection center to monitor human trafficking.


The Government supports many NGOs including one that provides services to commercial sex workers and some trafficking victims. The government provides victims with physical protection, medical services, travel documents, and repatriation. There are no reports of trafficking victims who have been jailed, fined or deported. In 2003, a Thai trafficking victim who had been freed from debt bondage won restitution in a civil suit against her traffickers.


The New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Education have programs geared to protecting children. There is no national action plan directed exclusively to trafficking but a national plan for human rights to be issued in 2004 will include anti-trafficking policies.


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