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New Zealand Must Take a Stand Against Slavery

-- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --

New Zealand Must Take a Stand Against Slavery

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND Today the United States State Department released its yearly “Trafficking in Persons Report” and singled out Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela and the Gambia for taking insufficient action against human trafficking.

The Thailand Prawn Industry has come under criticism in the last week for human trafficking and forced labor conditions on board their fishing vessels. The New Zealand seafood industry needs to ask similar questions as the exploitation and abuse suffered in the Thai Prawn Industry are identical to those alleged by the Shin Ji and Oyang 75 crews in recent years. However, our government has taken steps to combat the exploitative practices in our fishing industry, but more must be done.

The New Zealand government has been urged by the United Nations Human Rights Council in our recent Universal Periodic Review by a Working Group to “increase efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged trafficking offenders, and adopt legislation that will expand New Zealand’s current anti-trafficking legal framework to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of human trafficking”. Today, the US State Department make similar recommendations.

Stand Against Slavery stands with the UN Human Rights Council and the US State Department in asking the New Zealand government to make a stand against slavery in New Zealand by ensuring that the upcoming bill amending the trafficking provisions is enacted before the end of the year and to ensure that government agencies, lawyers and the judiciary and civil society organisations are resourced and given requisite knowledge to ensure that human trafficking offences are prosecuted and victims receive support, advocacy and rehabilitative care. Stand Against Slavery believes that cross sector cooperation is essential to ensure that trafficking and slavery is stamped out in New Zealand. We believe that working together with government, it is possible that New Zealand can become the first slave-free nation in the world.

Stand Against Slavery is an organisation that is determined to increase the consciousness and active participation of the New Zealand public about the global injustice of human slavery and the trading of slaves in every country in the world, including New Zealand.

--ENDS—

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