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A web resource for combating human trafficking

New Zealand

The Situation
New Zealand is destination country for human trafficking. Estimates of human trafficking in New Zealand are modest, with some reports of debt bondage and confiscation of document among women in prostitution.1
New Zealand is a destination country for women who are trafficked from Malaysia, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, and other countries in Asia for commercial sexual exploitation. There are have been no reports of foreign trafficking victims since 2001, although there is evidence of women from Asia, the Czech Republic, and Brazil who were working illegally as prostitutes.2 
Internal Trafficking
New Zealand has internal trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation.3   The Prostitution Law Review Committee estimated that approximately 200 young persons under the age of 18 were working as prostitutes in 2004.4 

The New Zealand Government
The New Zealand Government was placed in Tier 1 in 2007 U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report for fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. There has been no evidence of government officials who are complicit in human trafficking.
New Zealand uses many laws to prosecute traffickers. Part 5 of the 1961 Crimes Act criminalizes sex and labor trafficking. Other laws prohibit New Zealanders from child sex tourism and criminalize financial gain from commercial sexual exploitation of children. Penalties for commercial sexual exploitation are up to 20 years. New Zealand’s laws for forced labor and slavery, and the Prostitution Reform Act criminalize internal trafficking. The government is developing a National Plan of Action to combat Trafficking in Persons to build public support of anti-trafficking activities.5 

 In 2006, eight people were prosecuted and convicted on charges under the Prostitution Reform Act for offenses trafficking children less than 18 years of age for sexual exploitation. In addition, three brothel operators and one client were prosecuted and convicted. 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.6  

The New Zealand Government provides a short-term shelter, witness protection, medical services, and repatriation assistance to trafficking victims. The government funds programs in Indonesia and the Philippines to provide protection for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The government adequately identifies trafficking victims; there have been no reports of victims who have been jailed, fined, or deported.7  

The New Zealand Government is active in regional and international efforts to combat trafficking. The government assists ECPAT with initiatives to increase awareness and prevent child sex tourism. The New Zealand International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID) continues to fund anti-trafficking activities in source countries.8 

The U.S. Department of State recommends that the New Zealand Government 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.9 


1   2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
2  2006 US Department of State Human Rights Report
3  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
4  2006 US Department of State Human Rights Report
5  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
6  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
7  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
8  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
9  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report

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