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Auckland men paid up to $200 to sexually violate teen’s body

Auckland men paid up to $200 to sexually violate teen’s body, facilitated by NZ Herald

In what has been described as one of New Zealand’s most “sickening” criminal cases, on Tuesday an Auckland mother was jailed for six years and 11 months for keeping her teen daughter as a sex slave. Her partner also pleaded guilty to “dealing in underage people for sexual exploitation and receiving earnings from underage sexual exploitation”.

The Auckland High Court heard that the girl was first sexually violated on her 15th birthday. Over the following 18-months, men paid up to $200 an hour to abuse the teen’s body in her south Auckland Papatoetoe home and in motels across Auckland.

Stop Demand Foundation, whose work focuses on male demand that fuels the global sex trade, says that all parties involved in the successful charges laid against the mother and her partner are to be congratulated. However, it says the case raises other serious questions.

Its founder, barrister Denise Ritchie, says “while the actions of the mother and her partner were despicable, it is equally ‘sickening’ to know that across Auckland and beyond, literally hundreds of local men have paid up to $200 an hour to sexually violate this girl’s body. What action is being taken against the men who committed the 1000 sex crimes against the victim?”

Ritchie says, “It was made very clear at the Second Reading of the then Prostitution Reform Bill that there would be no defence to sex-buyers to claim they thought the person from whom sex was being purchased, was aged 18 or over. This girl’s long-term damage has been, in large part, caused by the men who paid to sexually violate her - sometimes five men a day. As many as can be tracked down through the mother, partner or victim, should be charged.”

If convicted, each of these men, face a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment under s23 of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003.

Ritchie says, “If New Zealand predators see that our legal system is willing to overlook their crimes, or is indifferent to taking action against them, they are effectively being given a ‘green light’ to minimise their crimes and to continue to pay to violate or rape underage persons”.

Stop Demand’s enquiry to the Crown has been passed to the Police, who are yet to respond.

The NZ Herald is also in Stop Demand’s firing line, given that the mother advertised her daughter’s sexual services through that paper, amongst other publications, albeit as an 18- year old. It is calling for the NZ Herald to make a formal apology to the victim. It has also asked the Herald: what steps does it take to ensure that the sexual services being advertised through their paper are not from the under aged or from victims of coercion or trafficking? Denise Ritchie says, “The blunt fact remains that, even if it was ignorant of the girl’s actual age, the NZ Herald assisted in the facilitation of some of the sex crimes against the victim”.

ENDS

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