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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                                                                                          

New Zealand

Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes - but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income has risen for nine consecutive years and reached $27,900 in 2008 in purchasing power parity terms.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in New Zealand.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

New Zealand Police

Emergency: 111

Non-emergency: station numbers can be found at:



Police warn parents of teens' safety

ONE News/Newstalk ZB, January 25, 2008

[accessed 26 June 2011]

[accessed 13 November 2016]

Police who led a crackdown on underage prostitution in South Auckland want parents and caregivers of young teenagers to take greater responsibility for the safety of their children.  Counties Manukau Police arrested 25 people during an operation focussed on under-aged prostitution in South Auckland. Sixteen children - some as young as 13 - were taken off the streets by police and either returned to their families or placed in the care of Child Youth and Family.  But during the operation, police discovered some of the same girls working back on the streets within days of initially being removed.  They want caregivers to take a greater interest in their children's wellbeing.  "A strong starting point would be parents and caregivers taking more interest in the safety and wellbeing of their children before it is too late for these young persons lives to be ruined by this criminal activity" Detective Senior Sergeant Pizzini says.  He says many of the teenagers were being solicited by gangs, and were being given methamphetamine in return for sexual favours.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless0800 376-633

Rebeccas Community -- This is for anyone aged up to 13 years old who is thinking about running away

[accessed 26 June 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 Hours - it doesn't matter what time you call.  In New Zealand, call 0800 376-633

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Hannah Darnton, ECPAT International, 2012

[accessed 6 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in New Zealand. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020 new-zealand/

[accessed 6 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law provides that any person who has a sexual connection with a person younger than age 16 is liable to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Further, the law makes it an offense punishable by seven years’ imprisonment to assist a person younger than 18 in providing commercial sexual services; to receive earnings from commercial sexual services provided by a person younger than 18; or to contract for commercial sexual services from, or be a client of, a person younger than 18. The law also makes it an offense to traffic in persons younger than 18 for sexual exploitation or for forced labor. The courts may prosecute citizens who commit child sex offenses overseas.

Government statistics reported 422 convictions in 2018-19 for sexual offenses against children younger than age 16, approximately the same number as a decade before.

The law prohibits child pornography and provides for a maximum 14 years’ imprisonment, as well as maximum individual and corporate fines of NZ$200,000 ($129,000) if a person produces, imports, supplies, distributes, possesses for supply, displays, or exhibits an objectionable publication. The Department of Internal Affairs Censorship Compliance Unit polices images of child sex abuse on the internet and prosecutes offenders.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 October 2003

[accessed 4 March 2011]

[51] The Committee notes that the State party has signed but not ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Rescuing the Child Prostitute, Whose Responsibility?

Wisdom Dzidedi Donkor, Public Agenda Accra

[partially accessed 19 September 2011 - access restricted]

RESEARCH FINDINGS - ECPAT New Zealand and Stop Demand Foundation have also cited in a report "The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand," a police survey of the New Zealand sex industry that 210 children under the age of 18 years were identified as selling sex, with three-quarters being concentrated in one Police District.

Flawed Prostitution Law Results in Mother ‘Trading’ 16 y/o Daughter

Family First, 28 September 2007

[accessed 26 June 2011]

Family First is disgusted with the actions of a mother who organised a prostitution ‘transaction’ between her 16 year old daughter and a man, but say that this is an expected outcome of a flawed Act.  “Politicians who voted for this ideologically flawed bill which decriminalized prostitution should hang their heads in shame, along with this mother,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – NEW ZEALAND – Although the Government of New Zealand said that there is no significant problem of CSEC in the country, anecdotal evidence shows that the problem exists especially in southern Auckland. In Christchurch, the number of young girls offering sex on the streets reportedly increases during the school holidays. ECPAT New Zealand has remarked on the increasing number of reports of children in the country selling themselves for as little as five dollars or a bag of glue.

Gaps In Stocktake Of Child Exploitation

Stop Demand, 1 June 2006

[accessed 26 June 2011]

A Stocktake on New Zealand’s National Plan of Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children has some glaring gaps in it, says long-time campaigner Denise Ritchie of Stop Demand Foundation.

Sex case deps hearing adjourned

[Last access date unavailable]

The Christchurch man faces a raft of charges after allegedly hiring a 14-year-old and 16-year-old girl to work in his brothel.

Child Prostitution Confirmed In Confidential Papers

The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, June 16 2004

[accessed 26 June 2011]

New Zealand children as young as 12 prostituted themselves on Christchurch streets last year.  Child Youth and Family (CYF) knew of at least 14 children and youths involved in prostitution in May last year; two of the underage prostitutes were enrolled at Christchurch's most elite schools – one a private school.  A group of boys – some known to CYF – were "pimping" for girls.  One 13-year-old girl tested positive for Chlamydia.

Call For Police To Target Child Prostitution

United Future NZ Party, 24 June 2005

[accessed 26 June 2011]

United Future leader Peter Dunne today called on the police in each of New Zealand's main cities to cancel their next traffic check point operation and assign the same number of officers for one evening to arresting men approaching child prostitutes on the streets.  “Not a single man has been charged with this since the Prostitution Reform Act came into being nearly two years ago, and all the evidence shows that child prostitution has spiraled upwards," Mr. Dunne said.

The effective abolition of child labour [PDF]

International Labour Organization ILO, 1-1-2002

[accessed 26 June 2011]

[p.437] As with every other area of commercial sexual exploitation of children, estimating the true nature and extent of child prostitution in New Zealand is very difficult due to the clandestine nature of the activity. However, research and anecdotal evidence suggest that child prostitution is a growing problem in New Zealand. ECPAT NZ has recently completed the first stage of a three-stage research project on the extent of CSEC in New Zealand. Initial findings revealed that child prostitution is reported throughout New Zealand, in rural districts and towns as well as cities.

Protecting Our Innocence - New Zealand's National Plan Of Action Against The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children

Ministry of Justice, February 2002

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 26 June 2011]

A comprehensive examination of commercial sexual exploitation of children in New Zealand, outlining the measures that government and non-government organizations are currently implementing to prevent and respond to child exploitation through prostitution, pornography and child trafficking. It also details further activities, which were identified during the development of the Plan of Action, that need to be implemented as New Zealand works toward the goal of eliminating the exploitation and abuse of children.

The Protection Project - New Zealand [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that child prostitution is a growing problem in New Zealand. Children working in prostitution do not come from any one particular background; likewise, they enter prostitution for a variety of reasons, including homelessness, family breakdown, peer pressure, sexual abuse, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, educational underachievement, or unemployment.  Christchurch has the reputation for being New Zealand’s child sex capital. An estimated 60 minors in prostitution work there, and groups of up to 20 children, some as young as 12 years of age, walk the streets of the city every evening. Many suffer from alcohol and drug addictions, and a large percentage have a background of sexual abuse.  Though exact figures are unknown, proportionally more Maori children are likely involved in prostitution because the risk factors that give rise to child prostitution are more common among Maori families (i.e., family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty). Maori children and families are also affected by the breakdown of traditional support structures of their society and cultural alienation associated with historical injustice.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - NEW ZEALAND [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 26 June 2011]

The exact scale and nature of the prostitution of children in New Zealand remains unclear due to a lack of comprehensive research. According to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, a “small but significant” number of children are being commercially sexually exploited in the country. A survey of police, health and social workers, undertaken to provide a baseline snapshot of prostitution before the law reform in 2003, estimated about 200 children under 18 to be involved, predominantly in the street sector of large urban centres. The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, however, believes this figure to be inflated. An ECPAT New Zealand survey of 47 individuals aged 15 to 47, involved in prostitution, found that the average age for first receiving payment for sexual acts was 14.5 years old. The survey also found that children entered prostitution for a variety of reasons: homelessness, family breakdown, pressure from friends already involved in prostitution, sexual abuse, poverty, drug and alcohol misuse, educational underachievement or unemployment. The prostitution of children is reported throughout the country, in rural districts and towns, as well as in cities.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Commercial sexual exploitation of children was a problem. Under the Prostitution Reform Act, it is illegal to use a person under 18 years of age in prostitution. A study by the PLRC completed in April 2004 estimated that approximately 200 young persons under the age of 18 were working as prostitutes. During the year 3 brothel operators and 1 client were prosecuted for the use of persons under age 18 in prostitution. The client and two of the brothel operators were convicted, and one operator was awaiting trial at year's end. The government worked with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to address trafficking in children and provided funding for NGO outreach programs in Auckland and Christchurch that provided accommodations and other support for young persons at risk for involvement in prostitution. The government had a national plan of action against the commercial exploitation of children developed in concert with NGOs and completed a progress review of the plan during the year; its report on the review was scheduled for release in 2006.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution – New Zealand",, [accessed <date>]