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ECPAT concerned at increase in young sex workers in Auckland

ECPAT concerned at increase in young sex workers in Auckland

ECPAT NZ Child ALERT is deeply concerned at reports of an increase in the number under aged sex workers in South Auckland and calls for increased protection of the young men and women involved. All children need to be safeguarded from being exploited in this way.

“Child prostitutes face many risks. They are run an increased risk of violence, threats, rape, theft and negative health impacts such as sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy, mental health issues, substance abuse and violence” says Yvonne Dufaur, ECPAT Child ALERT Chairperson.

ECPAT Child ALERT’s research has shown that commercial sexual activity involving children occurs across the country; in rural areas, towns and cities. Young sex workers are more likely to have been sexually abused, have left or are pushed out from home very early. In many cases they are forced into prostitution as they have no other way of getting money to buy drugs, accommodation, and food. Some are seeking emotional contact and companionship.

ECPAT Child ALERT is also concerned that young people are putting themselves in danger because they fear the authorities and are therefore not seeking help for illicit drug usage and the treatment of diseases. Greater coordination is needed between authorities to ensure the children are protected and those buying their services dealt with swiftly by the police and legal system. This needs adequate resourcing.

Further concerted action must be taken to combat child poverty and other vulnerability factors in order to fully eliminate the risks of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

‘ECPAT Child ALERT believes that current moves to ban prostitutes from certain areas will not solve the situation, but will result in driving prostitutes to operate from places that put them in greater danger. Instead, legislation to prosecute the buyers of sexual services rather than the sellers, as happens in Sweden, appears to be a much more effective law,’ comments Dufaur.

ECPAT Child ALERT is a non-government organisation and part of a global network formed to end Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (CSEC).

ENDS

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