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Crimes Amendment Bill

The Crimes Amendment Bill, introduced into the House today by Justice Minister Phil Goff, will make it an offence to be a client of a prostitute who is under the age of 18 years.

"The Bill brings together several changes to our legislation needed to enable New Zealand to comply with the terms of the ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Worst Forms of Child Labour," Mr Goff said.

"The ILO Convention is intended to secure the elimination and prohibition of the worst forms of child labour. The Convention specifically targets the elimination of child exploitation through slavery, prostitution, pornography, the use of children in illicit activities and work which is harmful to a child’s health, safety and morals.

"In particular, the Convention requires that the use, by a client, of a child for prostitution be prohibited. The Convention defines a child as a person under the age of 18 years.

"New Zealand legislation does not criminalise a client for using a prostitute. Where a child is under 16 years certain child specific sexual offences may apply, however in other cases, in particular cases involving a 16 or 17 year old prostitute, there is no prohibition preventing a client using that prostitute.

"This Bill therefore creates a new domestic offence of being a client in an act of prostitution by a person under the age of 18 years, carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

"This change in legislation recognises the need to provide special protection for young people to prevent their sexual exploitation. The amendment reflects the view that prostitution involving children and young persons is utterly unacceptable in our society. This is regardless of whatever changes may be considered by Parliament in relation to adult prostitution.

"The Convention also requires that all procuring of children for prostitution be prohibited. The current legislation is gender biased and only prohibits procuring of females for sexual intercourse with males. The Bill therefore amends the Crimes Act to prohibit the procuring of a person for the purposes of prostitution with another person.

The Bill will be referred to the Law and Order Select Committee for consideration, with an instruction to report back by 13 November 2000.

ENDS

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