I feel a great shame that New Zealand has been criticised for being a hub (yes a small one) for the sexploitation of some young people, both from NZ itself (mainly young Maori and Pacifica youth) and from Asia.
The UN report tabled by Hilary Clinton draws attention to an unsavoury unwanted fact that we are not lily white when it comes to these two issues. I have already condemned the treatment of workers on fishing boats; an issue that the NZ Government has only just acknowledged and acted upon. Now that we are hearing of young people being coerced (by gangs) into prostitution is shameful. I believe that the practice has probably being evident for longer than we would care to admit.
Just take a trip down some of our back streets late at night (an even during the day) and you will see evidence of these young people ‘working’ the street. Look further and you will see their ‘protectors, (read minders).
Our Children and Young Services agencies seem to be unable to protect these young people. Short of physically removing them and placing them in a ‘safer’ environment, there is little they can do. Sorting out those ‘workers/slaves’ from the ‘reluctantly willing’ is a huge issue for these agencies. One would have thought that the NZ Prostitutes Collective would be a source of who is who in this sad industry and then offer real protection where they can.
The gang involvement is the same as that which controls the illicit drugs sold on our streets. The police are fully stretched in all areas of crime--- this is one more area where they need more resources----- not less.
We as NZers have to realize that higher (for some) taxation is needed to fund the battle against these reported practices.