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Sex buyer charged – first for South Auckland

Sex buyer charged – first for South Auckland

A recent decision by Police not to prosecute a man who admitted buying sex from a minor has been reversed. The initial decision came under fire from Stop Demand Foundation which works to combat sexual exploitation.

At the urging of Stop Demand, Counties-Manukau Police have reviewed their decision and have now charged a man with contracting for commercial sexual services with a person aged under 18 years, under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. The offence carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie says “We are pleased with the Police’s ‘change of heart’ but it is disturbing that it required a challenge from an advocacy group to spur the Police into doing their job properly.”

Stop Demand has frequently highlighted Police inaction on under age prostitution, particularly in South Auckland. Denise Ritchie says, “The law, intended to crack down heavily on under age prostitution, has been in place for over four years. Up until now, not one sex buyer in South Auckland has been charged despite the area being a hotspot where virtually nightly men pick up and pay for sex with minors, with impunity. Previous Police inaction has led to an utter trivialisation of the law and to ongoing sexual exploitation of our youth.”

Despite the case being precedent-setting for the greater Auckland region, Police refuse to provide any details about the case including Court appearance dates. Denise Ritchie, a barrister, says “Police refusal to provide even a Court appearance date, denying us the opportunity to monitor the case, is disappointing.”

Stop Demand is hoping the case will serve as a deterrent to others and signal a new era for Police action against sexual exploiters in the greater Auckland region.

ENDS

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