The Government is disputing a US State Department report that claims New Zealand has a major problem with child trafficking and prostitution.
The Government has taken up the issue of the claim in successive annual State Department human rights reports since 2004, but it is again repeated in this year's report. The report, which includes sections on every country, said "commercial sexual exploitation of children was a problem", estimating up to 200 under 18-year-olds were working in the sex industry.
The comments were included under the report's trafficking section. The police rape trials, Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui's asylum case and the death in custody of Auckland teenager Liam Ashley also rated mentions in this year's report.
The figures are based on a 2004 report by the Prostitution Law Review Committee -- established by the Prostitution Reform Act. But a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the figures had been repeatedly misrepresented in the report, which had been discredited in previous years.
"In the past the Americans themselves have acknowledged it wasn't an accurate reflection, but once again the report seems to have been issued without any changes," the spokesman said. The issue would almost certainly be raised with the Americans again.
The report has been widely criticised in previous years, including by the Children's Commissioner.
Adapted from: "NZ rebuffs child trafficking, prostitution claims in US report." New Zealand Herald. 9 March 2007.
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.