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Police run shy on clients of underage prostitutes

Media statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 22nd March 2006

Police running shy on clients of underage prostitutes

United Future MP Gordon Copeland has revealed that only sixteen clients of prostitutes under 18 years have been convicted between June 2003 (when the Prostitution Reform Act became law) and the end of 2005.

"It is quite clear that the number of people who have purchased sexual services from people under 18 years of age, since the Act was passed, number in the thousands," said Mr Copeland.

"It is also patently obvious from documentaries screened by both TVOne and TV3, that multiple offences are occurring daily, especially in Manukau and on Manchester Street Christchurch.

"Contracting with a person under 18 years of age for commercial sexual services is a serious offence leading to a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

"It seems however, that the Police simply don't want to know.

"I have no doubt that this attitude arises from the contradictory signals which Parliament sent to the Police via the Prostitution Reform Act.

"On the one hand the Act legalises prostitution, thus taking the Police out of the loop.

"On the other hand persons who buy sex from prostitutes under 18 are liable to imprisonment. The Act is fatally flawed in that regard and the Police are left in a kind of no-mans-land."

"Notwithstanding, I will raise this matter with the Attorney General who has the primary responsibility for ensuring that New Zealand laws are upheld."


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