Prostitutes' Collective questions report on child sex trafficking in NZ

  • 13/09/2017
There are claims girls as young as nine have been forced into the sex trade.
There are claims girls as young as nine have been forced into the sex trade. Photo credit: Getty

Claims Kiwi children as young as nine are being sex trafficked are being questioned by the Prostitutes' Collective. 

A report, released by University of Auckland researcher Natalie Thorburn, claims child sex trafficking is prevalent in New Zealand and children as young as 12 were being exploited for money and drugs. 

She says that the majority of people forcing them into the sex trade are families or "boyfriends".

Counsellor Tania Blomfield told TVNZ that she knew of a child as young as nine being forced into the sex trade by her mother.  

Both Ms Thorburn and Ms Blomfield described the incidents as sex trafficking, with Ms Blomfield saying child sex trafficking is "a growth industry, sadly. I think it's getting worse and worse because we are not dealing with it".

However National Coordinator for the Prostitutes' Collective Catherine Healy says sex trafficking is a catch all phrase that does not fully describe the situation.

She takes the issue of exploitation seriously but warns that there is a difference between sexual abuse and sex trafficking.

"Let's not conflate it with sex work and say 'oh they've been trafficked into sex work' when actually they're being abused by family members," she told Newshub.

Ms Healy says authorities need to focus on children who are at risk of sexual abuse.

The New Zealand Police and the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki say they have teams working with underage sex workers. 

The Police said there is a couple currently awaiting trial in Auckland for profiting off forcing an underage girl to provide sexual services for money.