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Turner on underage prostitutes

For immediate release

Friday, 25 January 2008

Turner on underage prostitutes

UnitedFuture deputy leader Judy Turner says the party is not far off completing its work with the Government on improving New Zealand’s responsiveness to the problem of underage prostitution and will be announcing details in the next few months.

“UnitedFuture, as part of our 2005 supply and confidence agreement with the Labour-led government, included an early review of some of the more concerning aspects of the sex industry that had come to light after the passage of the reform bill,” she said.

“They were the difficulty councils had in zoning brothels, the concerns about reported increases in under-age involvement and the many complaints about street soliciting and the impact that was having in some centres on local businesses.

“It would be foolish to pretend that there is not a client-driven market for young men and women and that this problem is not going to go away by ignoring it.

“While it is difficult to prove that the numbers of people involved in prostitution who are underage has risen, due to the fact that poor data on numbers involved in the industry have been kept historically, there is certainly anecdotal evidence that in certain centres underage involvement, particularly in street soliciting, have risen and folk are right to be concerned.

“One of the main problems with the under-age issue is that 17 years olds currently fall through a huge bureaucratic crack in that their well-being is not covered by Child Youth and Family Services and this means that it is difficult to implement caring interventions or to hold their family responsible for better supervising their activities.

“There are some excellent charitable and community providers who work directly with young people on the street and resourcing these people may be a more successful way of ensuring that young people are better targeted with help if soliciting.

“The Prostitutes Collective has certainly reinforced their opposition to under-age involvement and there may well be some simple regulatory ways brothel operators can be made to ensure that they are not employing under-age workers,” said Mrs Turner.


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