Cablegate: Trafficking in Persons - New Zealand 3/2005
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 WELLINGTON 000221
DEPT PASS USAID
EAP/ANP - TRAMSEY
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP LNORIN, G, EAP/RSP, EAP/ANP, PRM, IWI, INL AND DRL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB NZ
SUBJECT: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - NEW ZEALAND 3/2005
Sensitive but Unclassified
1. (SBU) Following are responses to the Trafficking in Persons report
for New Zealand, keyed to reftel:
New Zealand fully complies with international standards to eliminate
trafficking. New Zealand problems with internationally trafficked
persons are quite small by international standards, with less than 50
cases coming to public attention in the past year. New Zealand has
signed the relevant international instruments dealing with trafficking
and has adopted tough domestic legislation to criminalize trafficking
with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and substantial fines.
The government has effective control over borders and points of entry;
corruption of officials is not an issue in New Zealand. The country
urban areas have been the primary destination for trafficked
individuals. The National Human Rights Commission works effectively
with government and non-government organizations to ensure that
trafficked individuals are treated as victims rather than criminals.
New Zealand has begin developing a National Plan of Action to fight
trafficking, listing the Department of Labor as the lead agency and
outlining areas for development in prevention, protection, prosecution,
and reintegration of victims.
A. New Zealand has been a country of destination for internationally
trafficked women in the commercial sex industry. Most knowledgeable
sources estimate that the extent of the problem is minimal on the scale
of perhaps a few dozen individuals per year. Women tend to form the
bulk of the trafficked individuals.
B. In the past, source countries for trafficked individuals have
included Thailand, Malaysia, and other Asian countries. The primary
destination in New Zealand is usually Auckland, New Zealand largest
city. Child prostitution is a problem throughout the country, but
major urban centers are best able to provide support resources to
C. New Zealand's primary source of trafficking remains child
prostitutes, who have been the subject of increased focus by regional
and national governmental and non-governmental organizations over the
Despite the January 2001 decision ending visa free entry for Thai
nationals, there have been indications that Thai commercial sex workers
have been coming to New Zealand to engage in prostitution. As
prostitution is legal in New Zealand, however, these activities would
be prosecuted as visa violations if uncovered.
D. There is no plan to document the extent of trafficking; instead the
focus is on ensuring that programs exist to deal with traffickers and
victims as they come to light. The Government's strategy has been
outlined in New Zealand recent National Plan of Action (see 18g).
E. Limited evidence of internationally trafficked persons into New
Zealand suggests that most understand that they are going to work in
the commercial sex industry. In the past, trafficked individuals also
worked in the construction and garment industries. From time to time,
bonds are required for commercial sex workers to pay for entry into New
Zealand and pimps/facilitators have been known to withhold passports
pending payment of the bonds.
G. Yes. In February 2002 the government introduced legislation to
criminalize the trafficking of persons into New Zealand. The
legislation imposes penalties of up to 20 years in prison and USD
200,000 in fines. The Transnational Organized Crime Bill was adopted
on June 17, 2002 as an amendment to the Crimes, Extradition,
Immigration, Passports and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
Amendment Acts. The Government of New Zealand initiated a National Plan
of Action (NPA) in February 2005, which names the Department of Labour
(which includes the Immigration Service) as the lead agency in
coordinating anti-trafficking strategies. While the terms of reference
are still being discussed, the short-term strategy involves the
following: Mapping trafficking assistance process; Consensus on NPA
elements; establishing procedures for victim identification; providing
access of victims to specialized shelters; Awareness-raising on TIP and
training programs on TIP.
H. No. New Zealand receives top-level international ratings for lack
of corruption among its public officials. There is no evidence to
suggest that government officials have taken bribes from traffickers.
I. Resources appear adequate given the size of the problem. The
government funds programs through its ministries as well as providing
funding to NGOs that deal with trafficking issues.
J. New Zealand is currently reviewing its anti-trafficking efforts, and
drafting a National Plan of Action which will address the prevention of
trafficking in persons, protection of victims, prosecution of
traffickers and the reintegration of victims (see 18g.)
K. The 2003 Prostitution Reform Bill legalized prostitution, and
solicitation was no longer a crime. The legislation set a minimum age
of 18 to work in the industry, gives prostitutes the same workplace
protections as other industries, and provides for a licensing regime
for brothels. In addition, the law removes a client's ability to
defend himself from prosecution based on his belief that an underage
sex worker was 18 years or older, and extends prosecution to any person
receiving financial gain from an act involving an underage sex worker.
The law prohibits sex tourism, and citizens who commit child sex
offenses overseas can be prosecuted in New Zealand courts. There were
no reports of abuse or the involuntary detention of women involved in
prostitution during the year; however, there were several credible
reports that women smuggled into the country were forced into
prostitution to repay substantial debts to traffickers. There were
also reports that some foreign commercial sex workers had their
passports withheld by employers until bonds were repaid. There were
also allegations that children engaged in prostitution did so to repay
debts to local gangs.
A Prostitution Law Review Committee was created in conjunction with the
Bill and is tasked with reviewing the operation of the Act and
reporting on its findings within 5 years. The Committee is expected to
release a report in March that reports on the number of sex workers in
New Zealand, the first report of its type. Anecdotal evidence indicates
that street prostitution has increased since the Bill was passed.
Police have noted that it is difficult to prosecute under-age
commercial sex workers as they are prevented from requiring
identification. As many child prostitutes do not see themselves as
victims, and do not cooperate with the police, the police are finding
it difficult to indict violators. A number of test cases are working
through the courts, which will indicate the effectiveness of
enforcement efforts on brothel owners.
L. There is no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to indicate that the
buying of selling of child brides occurs in New Zealand. Boys and
girls in New Zealand may marry at age 16, provided they have written
parental consent. They may marry without consent at age 20.
A. Yes, New Zealand is at the forefront of international efforts to
combat trafficking in persons. New Zealand acknowledges that
trafficking is a problem, although they have disagreed with the USG
definition of children engaged in the commercial sex industry, often
defining this as child abuse or neglect. The Prostitution Reform Bill
was passed in an effort to protect commercial sex workers and in
particular to block the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
New Zealand's trafficking legislation defines minors as those under 16
years of age. Proposed changes to New Zealand's Crimes Act would
criminalize the trafficking in persons for youths aged 16-18, thereby
extending the definition of minors to those under 18 years of age and
fulfilling NZ's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child. The changes would also criminalize child sex tourism.
B. The Department of Labour, the Human Rights Commission, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of
Health, the Ministry of Child, Youth and Family and the New Zealand
C. A highly successful Thai language anti-trafficking campaign was
launched in 1999 to target Thai women in the commercial sex industry.
The government extends substantial resources to combat trafficking in
NGOs including the New Zealand Prostitute's Collective (NZPC), the
Maxim Institute, the Women's Refuge, Shakti Migrant Services Trust and
the Salvation Army offer programs to commercial sex workers on the
street, offering "life options." While the major NZ organization
dealing with trafficking (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking, or
ECPAT) primarily targets demand, all NGOs focus on offering assistance
to victims. The NZPC has helped underage prostitutes to find alternate
employment or assisted them in returning to school.
D. New Zealand supports international efforts to combat trafficking.
A number of these campaigns are now provided in a range of languages to
make new immigrants and refugees aware of their rights while living in
New Zealand, including employment rights and human rights.
F. There are excellent cooperative relations between the government,
NGOs and elements of civil society on the trafficking issue. The GNZ
funds many NGOs and civil society institutions combating this problem.
H. Yes, while in the past the National Human Rights Commission
coordinated responses to these problems, the Department of Labour has
been named the primary coordinating agency for anti-trafficking
I. The Government actively participates in multilateral and efforts to
prevent, monitor and control trafficking.
J. Yes. While the Department of Labour is the lead coordinating
agency, the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of foreign Affairs
and Trade, the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, the
office of the Commissioner for Children, the New Zealand Law Society,
the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, End Child Prostitution, Child
Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, Ministry
of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of
Social Development, Human Rights Commission, New Zealand Customs
Service, Department of Courts, and the Ministry of Education are all
involved in the development and implementation of NZ's anti-trafficking
National Plan of Action. The plan is still in the initial stages, and
consultations are ongoing. They will include input from NGOs.
K. The agencies and ministries mentioned in 19k support a wide range
of programs that, while not always specifically addressing trafficking,
are working to explain worker rights and keep minors from entering the
commercial sex industry.
20. Highlight here change in Prostitution Reform Law.
A. New Zealand passed tough legislation criminalizing smuggling and
trafficking in human beings in 2002 (See 17A).
B. Twenty years imprisonment and USD 500,000 fine.
C. Sexual violation is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to
exceed 20 years.
D. Yes. A NZ man was charged with assisting a 16-year-old girl to
provide commercial sexual services and with pimping - receiving money
from those services. His was the first case tried following the
passage of the Prostitution Reform Bill, which provides for harsher
penalties, including a maximum jail sentence of seven years.
There is an on-going court case which will decide whether or not a
brothel owner is liable for hiring an underage prostitute if they were
shown false identification.
E. There is no clear evidence on this subject, however, police
speculate that small-scale Asian organized crime groups participate in
this illegal trade. The police have a dedicated unit for international
organized crime, which may overlap with anti-trafficking efforts. There
are no reports of government officials having been involved in this
G. The government has provided training to other government officials
articularly non-governmental organizations in Thailand n methods
to protect child witnesses in criminal proceedings.
H. Yes. The government participates in all international fora on
anti-trafficking, and has in the past worked closely with the
Government of Thailand to assist victims of trafficking.
I. Yes. The government allows extra-territoriality to apply in child
sexual exploitation cases committed by New Zealanders overseas.
L. While there is not a large-scale problem, NZ has cooperated in the
prosecution of NZ citizens that have engaged in child sex tourism
M. ILO Convention 182 was ratified on June 14, 2001. ILO convention
105 was ratified on June 14, 1968. The Optional Protocol to the
convention on the rights of the child on the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography was signed on September 7, 2000.
The protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons,
especially women and children, supplementing the UN convention against
transnational organized crime was ratified on July 19, 2002.
21. A. The government has provided short-term sanctuary, witness
protection, access to medical services and repatriation. Sexual abuse
victims are eligible for support from the Accident Compensation
Corporation. This includes medical assistance at state expense.
B. Yes. The government supports a wide range of NGOs including the
New Zealand Prostitutes Collective that provide services to commercial
sex workers some of whom may have been trafficked.
C. Yes. Post has no knowledge of trafficked victims who have been
jailed, fined or deported. Illegal immigrants have been jailed, fined
D. Yes. In smuggling cases, the government encourages victims to
support investigations and prosecutions of smugglers.
F. Yes. The government provides special training in dealing with all
aspects of children and the law.
G. In the case of a Thai woman forced into bondage and prostitution,
they worked with a Thai NGO to help any victims of trafficking assisted
in NZ and returned to Thailand.
H. New Zealand citizens are entitled to a wide range of social, mental
and physical services, regardless of circumstance.
I. ECPAT New Zealand, Ending Child Prostitution and Trafficking is the
lead NGO in this field and works closely with the government.
3. Embassy POC for the trafficking in persons issues is Political
Officer Dorothy Rogers, Telephone (644) 462-6043 Fax (644) 472-3537.