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The aftermath of the Prostitution Reform Bill

For immediate release

Thursday, 26 June 2003

The aftermath of the Prostitution Reform Bill

United Future MP, Gordon Copeland, says the passage last night of the Prostitution Reform Bill will lead to an explosion in the exploitation of young Asian women.

"The prostitution industry in New Zealand will now change dramatically," he says.

"Essentially there will be no further police involvement. Rather, the few restrictions which remain will be the responsibility of local authorities. This is a tremendously important and fundamental change in the position which has existed in New Zealand as long as we have been a self-governing and independent nation.

"Through some contacts which I have, I know that young women from Asia will now be brought into New Zealand to work as sex slaves. These women will be innocent victims.

"They will be deceived into believing that generous benefactors have paid for them to come to New Zealand. They will be enrolled in English language academies. They will enter New Zealand with perfectly valid student visas.

"However when they arrive they will suddenly discover to their horror that they now owe many thousands of dollars to the gangs who have organised the whole thing. This will be the cost of air fares, permits and perhaps even the fees charged by the training establishments - if these girls ever get to attend a single lesson!

"The girls will then be put to work in brothels and instructed to service hundreds of men in order to repay these debts. To help them endure the unendurable they will be "assisted" with drugs. Under the new law, if the girls, i.e. the victims, are caught they will be sent home.

"This activity is known as the international trafficking of women. It is illegal in New Zealand but it is doubtful that the gangs involved in the trafficking will ever face criminal charges. There are a number of reasons for that.

"Firstly the police will no longer be involved in the prostitution industry. Hence it will probably only be when a sex slave is admitted to hospital or dies that the position of these young women will be brought to the attention of the authorities.

"Secondly the evidence required to gain a conviction for trafficking will depend on the victim's providing testimony (assuming that she hasn't already been sent home). The girls will not be brave enough to do that since they would literally be placing their own lives and the lives of their families at risk. Trafficking gangs are evil people.

"Since only international trafficking will remain a crime the situation within New Zealand will also now degenerate into one of significant gang involvement and sex slave-type arrangements.

"I believe that the number of prostitutes will increase, and that the demands of their "owners" will become increasingly strident. A few "business" people will become rich. A lot of young women will be exploited, abused, and debased.

"One last thought. Some people have suggested that United Future should break its supply and confidence agreement with the Government because of this issue. We do not intend to do that. We don't welsh on deals and in any event we would then, for the duration of this Parliament, be surrendering our power to the Green party every member of which, without exception, voted for the Bill," concluded Mr Copeland.


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