The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has worked closely with the New Zealand Government to encourage the ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the accompanying Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Assistance Programs for victims of debt bondage were implemented through the Human Rights Commission, the Mayor of Auckland, the police, the Immigration Service, and NGOs including ECPAT NZ, the Prostitutes' Collective, and Shakti Asian Women's Refuge. Other initiatives included pamphlets about the unacceptability of child prostitution, and peer counseling programs.1
The New Zealand government works with ECPAT NZ to combat trafficking in children.
In June 2003, the New Zealand government provided funding for the United Nations Inter Agency Project (UNIAP) on Trafficking in the Mekong sub-region, located in Bangkok. UNIAP is a unique project in Southeast Asia that seeks to coordinate the international and local efforts to combat trafficking in the Mekong sub-region, specifically Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Laos PDR, and southern China (Yunan Province).
New Zealand regularly participates in international conferences on human trafficking. For example, in November 2002, New Zealand participated in the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) meeting of the Advisory Council of Jurists (ACJ). The ACJ arrived at a number of recommendations and considerations on combating trafficking in the Asia Pacific region.2
The Crimes Act 1961, with its Amendment of 1995 prohibits prostitution related activities. The Crimes Act prohibits dealing in slaves. A person may be subject to imprisonment of up to 14 years for crimes involving the transfer of any woman either inside or outside the country with the intent that her labor will be exploited.
The act also prohibits debt-bondage, serfdom, the sale of a woman for financial gain, or the transfer of such a woman to another person without her consent. The act prohibits conspiring to induce a woman to have sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband through fraudulent means or misrepresentation. Punishment for the offense is imprisonment for up to 5 years. The act prohibits inducing any woman or girl to have sexual intercourse with another by falsely representing to her that she is married to that person. Punishment for the offense is imprisonment of up to 7 years. Prostitution of minors is illegal under both the Crimes Act and the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1989.3
The 1995 amendment to The Crimes Act applies to offenses that New Zealand nationals commit abroad concerning sexual conduct with children, therefore, citizens who commit child sex offenses overseas can be prosecuted in New Zealand courts. The act also prohibits sex tourism. There is a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment and a $NZ 500,000 fine.
The Immigration Act 1987 addresses employer responsibility and employer exploitation of those who are not legally entitled to work.
In 2002, the Government passed new legislation to criminalize alien smuggling and trafficking in persons, with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $NZ 500,000 ($US 240,385). This legislation is in place in order to implement its obligations under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocols.4
In August 2002, a man was fined $NZ 1,300 ($US 625) and sentenced to community service for possession of child pornography.
There were no reports of abuse or the involuntary detention of women involved in prostitution during the year 2002.
In 1999 the Human Rights Commission developed a "safe house" program specifically designed to assist Thai protitutes. The Mayor of Auckland City and various organizations have assisted the Commission with this program. Pink stickers providing advice in both English and Thai about how to access the service have been made available in areas where the commercial sex trade operates. In 2000, domestic NGOs and the Commission assisted with the repatriation of 6 Thai women who had been trafficked into New Zealand.5
New Zealand's fifth report on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is useful. This report can be found at www.mwa.govt.nz/cont_wk.html.
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